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Vol. II. 




All rights reserved. 

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I. Effects of English institutions in Ireland . . 2 

Irish finance ........ 4 

The Oligarchy and its motives .... 6 

The Septennial Bill 8 

II. Growth of the Catholic population .... 11 
Revival of national spirit . . . . .12 

Dr. Curry's history ...... 13 

Apparent Catholic loyalty 15 

Irish Catholic regiments raised for service in Portugal 18 

III. The landlords and the peasantry . . . .20 
Absenteeism . . . . . . 22 

Whiteboys . 23 

Father Sheehy 29» 

Connection of the Whiteboys with the Pretender . 32 

IV. Condition of the people 35 

The Pension List 36 

Scheme of George the Third for the better govern- 
ment of Ireland 40 

Yiceroyalty of Lord Townshend . . . .44 

Y. Parties and persons 46 

Henry Flood . . , s 48 

Grattan and Fitzgibbon . ... . . .50 





nonoM page 

I. Irish views on Reform ...... 56 

Parliamentary intrigues ...... 58 

Principles of Irish politicians ..... 62 

Dissolution of Parliament ..... 69 

II. Material improvement of Ireland .... 71 

Townshend's difficulties ...... *73 

Revenue frauds ....... 75 

Rejection of Supply Bill 78 

Thoughts of governing Ireland without Parliament 80 

Dismissals from the Council ..... 8-5 

Prorogation ........ 87 

HI. Alternatives before Lord Townshend ... 89 
Purgation of the Board of Revenue and defeat of the 
Oligarchy . . . . . . • . .91 

Justice to Ireland ....... 95 

Indiscipline of the army ...... 98 

IV. Price of Townshend's victory .... 100 

Resignation of the Speaker ..... 103 

Justice to Ireland again ..... 104 

V. Corruption and its effects . . . . . 107 

Fresh difficulties . . . . . . .111 

Government relieved by Lord Shannon . . . 114 

VI. Irish grand juries ....... 116 

The Oak Boys 116 

The Donegal evictions and the Hearts of Steel . 119 

Emigration to America . . . . . , 125 

Irishmen out of Ireland 127 



L Irish Presbyterians 129 

English Colonial policy 132 

American complaints 134 

Resolution of the English Parliament . . .137 

Lexington . . . . . 139 

Bunker's Hill 



II. Lord Harcourt as Viceroy ..... 145 
Introduction to Irish public life .... 147 
Responsibilities of an Irish Secretary . . . 148 
Proposed Absentee Tax . . . . . .150 

III. Parliamentary manoeuvres . . . . .159 
Breach of the woollen compact .... 162 
English injustice and its effects on Irish character 164 

IV. Mr. Henry Flood 170 

Lord Harcourt' s difficulties 172 

Sympathy between the Irish Protestants and America 175 
Loyalty of the Irish Catholics . . . . .176 

American tendencies of the Irish Parliament . . 179 
Demands for justice . . . . . .183 

English perversity ....... 184 

New Parliament 187 




. —=«=~-^ — -— — — -^v, 

I. Effects of misgovernment . ..... 190 

Irish landlords . 192 

The Irish Church 195 

England to be brought to a reckoning . . . 199 

II. The American War 201 

Surrender of General Burgoyne .... 204 

War with France and Spain 205 

III. American privateers in St. George's Channel . . 208 
Mr. Grattan in the Irish Parliament . . . 209 

Catholic relief . 210 

The Volunteer movement . 211 

PaulJones 212 

Relaxation of the Trade Laws . . . .214 

Modification of the Penal Laws ... . .216 

Privateers . . . ... . . 219 

Debates on Ireland in the English Parliament . . 221 

Woollen restrictions maintained . . . 222 



ohom p t • i 

Opinions of leading Irishmen on the causes ot Irish 

distress 224 

Lord Liflbrd's opinion 225 

Mr.Pery 226 

Mr. Hussey Burgh 22 ' 

Mr. Hely Hutchinson 228 

IV. Ireland undefended 232 

Formation of Volunteer Companies .... 234 

Paul Jones again 235 

The Irish Parliament demands Free Trade . . 238 

Volunteer demonstration 241 

Riot in Dublin 242 

Speech of Hussey Burgh ..244 

V. Acknowledged wrongs of Ireland .... 247 

Relief of the Presbyterians 249 

VI. The embargo . . . . . • • • 253 

The Black Prince and Princess .... 255 

G rattan's resolutions ...... 259 

The Mutiny Act 261 

The Patriot army . 264 

Demand for protection 267 

The houghers 268 

Non- importation agreement . . . . .270 

The Viceroy's difficulties 272 



L League against England . . . .274 

The Protestant Colony of Ireland . . . .276 
Grattan and Catholic Emancipation . . .278 
II. Progress of the war in America . . . .281 
Lord Cornwallis in the Southern States . . . 283 

Surrender at York Town 286 

III. Progress of revolutionary sentiment in Ireland . 288 
Difficulties in managing the Irish Parliament . . 289 

The Volunteers 292 

Session of 1781 . . . . . .293 

Mr. Flood 296 

Siege of Gibraltar 298 

Attack on Poynings' Act . . . . . 301 



The 6th of George 1 302 

Concessions to the Catholics . * . . . . 304 

IV. Effects of the Penal Laws 306 

The Dungannon Resolutions 309 

Catholic education .312 

Proposed policy of Hely Hutchinson . . .313 

Mr. Grattan 317 

Change of Ministry in England . . . .319 
V. The Rockingham Administration . . . .320 
Duke of Portland Viceroy of Ireland . . . 321 
Errors of the English Liberal party in Irish policy . 324 
Demands of the Patriots 325 

VI. Declaration of Rights . 328 

Ultimatum of Mr. Grattan 331 

Public principle of Flood 333 

Correspondence of Portland with Lord Shelburne . 336 
Alternative of the abandonment of Ireland . .337 
England concedes Grattan's demands . . . 341 

Constitution of '82 342 

Honours paid to Grattan ...... 344 

Dissatisfaction of Flood . . . . . .347 

General Reform 350 

Character of Flood 352 




I. Anomalies in the New Constitution .... 355 

The Volunteers 356 

Scene at Dunleckny 359 

II. Fresh alarms of danger to Irish liberty . . . 361 

Effects of the revolution 363 

The Irish Parliament ...... 365 

Two kinds of liberty > 367 

The Volunteer delegates ' 369 

III. Opinion of Fox ...... 373 

VOL. II. a 



nonox page 

Grattan supports the Government .... 376 

(i rattan and Flood 377 

IV. The Convention 380 

George Robert Fitzgerald 381 

The Bishop of Dcrry 382 

The Convention Reform Bill 386 

Speech of Fitzgibbon ...... 389 

The Convention dissolves 392 

V. Changes in the Administration .... 395 

Houghing of soldiers ...... 397 

I lefeai of Reform Bill in Parliament . . .399 

All appeal before the Irish House of Lords . . 401 

Necessary increase of English influence . . . 403 

Political morality of the Irish Peers . . . 404 

VI. Difficulty of Government in Ireland . . . 407 

Violence of the Dublin mob . 409 

Tarring and Feathering Committee .... 411 

Irish patriots and Government detectives ; Father 

O'Leary .413 

VII. Fitzgibbon and the Sheriff of Dublin . . .417 

Pitt's views on Reform 420 

VIII. Project for the improvement of Irish trade . . 422 

The Commercial propositions ill received . . 424 

IX. Speech of Fitzgibbon on the Volunteers . . . 429 

Debate in Parliament 433 

Fresh schemes of Reform . . . . .436 

X. The Commercial propositions re-introduced . . 438 

Political tempest 441 

Fitzgibbon on Ireland and Great Britain . . . 443 



I . Social state of Ireland 447 

The Bishops of the Establishment .... 449 

Failure of the Charter Schools .... 451 

Tithe proctors 453 

Whiteboys 454 

EL The Pension List . . . . . . 462 

A Police Bill 464 

Opposed by the Patriots 466 

The Tithe question 470 

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Political scandal and the formation of the Whig 







A free government depends for its successful work- 
ing on the loyal co-operation of the people. Where 
the people do not co-operate, the forms of liberty are 
either a mockery, or an instrument of disunion and 
anarchy. Had the Irish been regarded from the out- 
set as a conquered people whom a stronger neighbour 
had forced, for its own convenience, into reluctant 
submission, Ireland would have escaped the worst of 
her calamities. Her clans would have been held in awe 
by an army ; public order would have been preserved 
by a police : but her lands would have been left to 
their native owners ; her customs and her laws mi^ht 
have been untouched, and her religion need not have 
been interfered with. The nature of the English 


VOL. II. , B 



constitution forbade an experiment which might have 
been dangerous to our own liberties. Ireland was in 
fact a foreign country; we preferred to assume that 
she was an integral part of the empire. We imposed 
upon her our own modes of self-government ; we 
gave her a parliament, we gave her our trial by jury 
and our common law ; we assimilated the Irish Church 
to our own ; and these magnificent institutions refused 
to root themselves in an uncongenial soil. The Par- 
liament was forbidden to legislate till its decisions 
had been shaped for it beforehand. The rule of 
feudal tenure inflicted forfeiture on rebellion; the 
native owners were therefore dispossessed for assert- 
ing the liberties of their country ; and their estates 
were bestowed upon aliens. The Irish preferred 
their own laws to ours. They became in conse- 
quence 4 Irish enemies' and outlaws, and mioaht 
be wronged and killed with impunity. When we 
ton ed them at last to submit to our laws, trial by 
jury made the execution of them impossible ; and with 
equal impunity the colonists could then be murdered, 
their cattle houghed, and their daughters ravished 
by the natives. The Church being an estate of the 
realm and a governing section of the constitution, the 
I Jhurch in the two countries had to be shaped on the 
same pattern. At the conquest we forced the Irish 
Church into submission to the Papacy. At the Re- 
formation we forced it to apostatise. As the Reforma- 
tion pursued its course, the theory of our Church 
Establishment split the garrison of Protestants, whom 
we had planted in the island, into hostile camps. A 
free representative legislature which yet was not free 
and was not representative— a gentry who could not 
rule— a Church which could not teach— laws which 



could not be enforced — these were the consequences chap. 
which resulted from the preference of unreality to fact. — r — 
They might all have been avoided had the truth been 
acknowledged and acted on ; but England was unable 
to recognise that constitutional liberty in our country 
might be constitutional slavery in another. 

If the object was to absorb and extinguish the 
spirit of Irish nationality, it singularly failed of at- 
tainment. Had the union been conceded for which 
the presentiments of the Irish Parliament led them to 
petition in 1704 ; had trade and manufactures been 
allowed to develop, and the stream of British Pro- 
testant emigration been directed continuously into all 
parts of the island, the native population might have 
been overborne or driven out, and the mother country 
might have retained the affections of a people with 
whom she would then have been identified in interest 
and sentiment. By a contemptible jealousy she 
flung them back upon themselves, a minority amidst a 
hostile population, and condemned them to idleness 
and impoverishment ; she left them to add their own 
Grievances to the accumulated wrongs of the entire 
country ; while she left them at the same time their 
own Parliament, in which the national discontent 
could find a voice ; and taught them to look for allies 
among her own enemies. 

The Protestant revolt will form the subject of the 
present volume. It was an act of madness — madness 
in the colony which revolted — madness in the mother 
country which provoked the quarrel. The colonists 
were an army of occupation amidst a spoliated nation 
who were sullenly brooding over their wrongs. By 
England's help alone they could hope to retain their 
ascendency. It was England's highest interest to 

B 2 


k. i j> the garrison strong, if she was to escape a recur- 
rence of the dangers which had already cost her so 
dear. The colonists in their own vanity and exas- 
peration forgot or despised the peril from a race whom 
theV regarded as slaves. England, half conscious of 
an injustice which she was too proud or too negligent 
to redress, attempted to hold the colony in check by 
patronising and elevating the Catholic Celts. Before 
the story can proceed, the events mentioned at the 
close of the last chapter require to be described more 
pftrl ieularly. 

Poisonous as were the laws in restraint of trade, 
unequal as was the executive government to the 
repression of the most vulgar crimes, the administra- 
tion of Ireland possessed a single merit. If it did 
nothing, it cost little. The taxation was light, and 
the finances, notwithstanding the infamy of the Pension 
List, were economically managed. At the middle of 
the century the annual revenue averaged eight hundred 
thousand pounds. Of the entire sum, the fixed excise 
and en stoms duties, the quit rents, and the hearth money 
which had been settled upon the Crown, and were be- 
yond control of Parliament, produced three quarters, 
which were supplemented by a biennial grant. A debt 
of a million incurred in the Spanish succession war 
was materially reduced on the re -establishment of peace. 
In 1749 the income exceeded the expenditure, and 
it was agreed on all hands that the surplus should be 
appropriated to the discharge of the little that re- 
mained. On the principle there was no difference. 
But whether the Irish House of Commons was to have 
the honour of suggesting the appropriation in com- 
pliance with their asserted privilege of originating 
their own money bills, or whether it was to be recom- 



mended from England, according to the English chap. 

construction of Poynings' Act, which forbade the in- — l ' . 

troduction of bills into the Irish Parliament that had 
not been first submitted to the English Council, became 
a burning question. The self-respect of Ireland was 
held to depend on the right solution of it, and the 
two countries flung themselves into the struggle with 
a passion of political desperation during three 
biennial sessions. In 1749, in 1751, and in 1753 the 
Viceroys informed the Commons in the speech from the 
throne that his majesty would recommend the appli- 
cation of the surplus to the payment of debt. The 
Commons took no notice of the recommendation, drew 
the heads of their bills on their own initiation, and 
forwarded them to England. In England the heads 
were altered by the Council, and the King's previous 
consent was re -introduced. Twice the Irish Parlia- 
ment submitted with murmurs. In 1753, under the 1753. 
viceroyalty of the Duke of Dorset, they threw out the 
altered bill by a majority of live. The additional 
duties were refused and the business of the country 
was brought to a standstill. 

A majority in the House of Commons was at this 
time returned by four great families. The Fitz- 
geralds of Kildare, the Boyle s, the Ponsonbys, and 
the Beresfords, by their county influence and their 
private boroughs, were the political sovereigns of 
Ireland. The government was carried on by their as- 
sisrance, and they received in return the patronage of the 
State. The Viceroy understood the meaning of the 
vote. The great houses were affecting patriotism for 
objects of their own, and he found it necessary to 
capitulate. The terms were privately arranged ; 
Boyle, the Speaker of the House of Commons, was 


made Earl of Shannon, with a pension of 2,000/. a 
year. John Ponsonby succeeded Boyle as Speaker. 
The patriot orators were silenced by promotions. 
Anthony Malone became Chancellor of the Exchequer ; 
Stannard, Recorder of Dublin, another eloquent ex - 
ponent of the wrongs of Ireland, was made Prime 
Sergeant. The opposition to England's initiation of 
money bills was suspended till the great families were 
again hungry, and fresh expectants of promotion were 
in a position to be troublesome. 

The Parliament determined with the Sovereign. 
On the death of George the Second the House, which 
had been elected at his accession, came to its mature 
end, and in October, 1761, the first session was to 
open of the new representation. 

Anticipating a demand for a fine on the renewal of 
the lease, and resolved to resist at the outset the 
patriotic affectations which were used as a pretext for 
agitation, the English Council inserted in the first bill, 
which was sent over to be laid before the new Parlia- 
ment, a clause for the application of a sum of money. 
The Earl of Halifax, who was now viceroy, was 
deafened with the clamours of the Irish servants of the 
Crown, and doubted the wisdom of his chiefs. The 
supporters of Government threatened apostacy. The 
ministers, Halifax thought, might be right in the 
abstract, but they were pressing an invidious claim 
in the face of a notorious prejudice. The supplies 
might be again challenged, and at the opening of a new 
reign it might be unwise to commence with a quarrel. 1 
The Secretary of State 2 gave the Viceroy to under- 

1 1 Halifax to the Earl of Eofre- who took office with Newcastle in 
niont, October 11, 1761.' S. P. 0. 1761. 

2 Wyndham, Earl of Egrernont, 



stand that the insertion of the clause had been made chap. 
deliberately, and was to be insisted on. The right of - — ^ — - 
Great Britain was indubitable. The assertion of it 
was considered indispensably necessary to the King's 
honour and the vindication of the prerogative. The 
bill must be laid before Parliament in the form in 
which it had been sent over. If it failed, Halifax 
would not be held responsible. 1 

The storm which Halifax anticipated would have 
certainly risen but for peculiar conditions under 
which the new members had been returned. The 
corruption with which the Government had secured a 
majority on the appropriation of the surplus had sug- 
gested to the constituencies that they might them- 
selves obtain a share in the plunder. Seats in 
Parliament had been hitherto virtually for life. More 
frequent elections would compel the representatives 
to divide their spoils with their supporters. At the 
elections, to their general surprise, the candidates had 
been called on for a promise to support a Septennial 
Act; pledges to that effect having been especially 
exacted from the servants of the Crown as the price 
of their return. 2 

Embarrassed with the prospect of a change which 
they secretly disliked, while they were themselves 
afraid to oppose it, to the surprise of Halifax they 
declined the challenge on the money bill. They passed 
the supplies by a large majority. They ventured a 
resolution that the Pension List had been increased 
without sufficient reason, 3 and seemed to threaten an 

1 ' Egremout to Halifax, Octo- 
ber 20.' S. P. 0. 

2 ' Halifax to Eg-rernont, Octo- 
ber 1761, and December 4, 1761.' 

3 The Civil Pension List had 
grown from 54,497/. in 1759, to 
64.127/. in 1761. Commons' Jour- 
nals, Ireland, 1761. 



BOOE Attack upon it. The Viceroy lectured the Lords 
J _ Justices. Egremont wrote that the King was amazed 
and offended at so extraordinary a demonstration, 
and insisted that there should be no repetition of it. 1 
The excitement was unnecessary; the real attention 
of the Commons was absorbed in the Septennial Bill. 
Dr. Lucas, the patriot member for Dublin, introduced 
the heads at the opening of the session. In December, 
when the Pension storm had abated, the subject came 
forward for discussion. Halifax had received no in- 
structions. He expressed no opinion and offered no 
opposition. If the ministry considered the measure 
objectionable, he said he could stop it in Council, but 
lie was evidently uncertain in what light it would be 

Could the Commons have been assured that the 
bill would be rejected in England they would have 
passed it with acclamations. The neutral attitude of 
the Viceroy alarmed them. They were afraid to turn 
it out. They were afraid that if sent over it might 
be returned unopposed. They escaped from the dif- 
ficulty by attaching to it a property qualification as a 
condition of eligibility so heavy, that so encumbered 
the most ardent patriot could only desire that the 
bill might fail. 2 It was presented to the Viceroy, but 
without the forms which were observed usually with 
popular measures. When the House desired to sig- 
nify a special desire that a bill should be returned to 
them, the heads were carried to the Castle by the 
Speaker, attended by the entire body of members. 
A motion that the heads of the Septennial Act should 

1 1 Halifax and Egremont Corre- cation was to be an estate of 600/. 
spondence, November 1701/ S.P.O. a year, for a borough seat 300/. 

2 For a county seat the qualifi- 



be so presented was defeated by a majority of two to CHAP. 

one, and no sooner had a private member placed the • r — 

heads in Halifax's hands, than its authors manoeuvred 
in secret to stop it in the Irish Council. Halifax 
reported that the change was £ uniformly disliked by 
the most unprejudiced people of rank, influence, and 
fortune.' c They were alarmed by secret, and, as they 
thought, authentic information, that if transmitted it 
would certainly be returned to them;' 1 and Shannon, 
Ponsonby, and the other prominent members of the 
Council of State, requested an assurance that their 
alarms were unfounded before they would consent to 
let it go. 

The ministry, playing with their fears, replied that 
the King could make no engagements beforehand. 
The Dublin merchants held a meeting to protest 
against c the clandestine arts ' by which an important 
reform was obstructed. The heads were at last trans- 
mitted, passing the Council only, however, by a majo- 
rity of one. 4 The popularity of the Bill has dimin- 
ished,' wrote Halifax, 4 as the probability of its being- 
carried into law has increased. Nobody wishes for it. 
It is unacceptable to those who seemed most sanguine 
in its favour. Unanimous as they were at first, they 
will now throw it out rather than pass it.' With a 
curious consciousness that if the Irish Parliament 
became a reality it would cease to exist, the patriot 
members began to fear that the agitation had been set 
on foot by English treachery, 1 as a preliminary step 
towards a Union.' 2 

They might have spared their terrors, Either by 

1 ' Halifax to Egremont, Decern- 2 i Halifax to Egreinont, Feb- 
ber 11 and December 23, 1761.' ruary 18, 1762.' 
S. P. 0. 




BOOK design or accident, the draftsman had added a con- 
— , - dit ion which made the bill into an absurdity, and 
relieved the government of the necessity of bestow- 
ing* the most transient consideration on the subject. 
The heads of the Septennial Act were submitted as 
usual to the English law officers of the Crown. They 
returned it to the Lords of the Council with the 
following report : — 

c We have examined the Act for limiting the dura- 
tion of Parliament transmitted from Ireland. So 
much thereof as limits the duration to a term of 
seven years, imports a most essential alteration in the 
constitution of Ireland. The fitness or unfitness of 
this provision is a matter of State of so high a nature 
that we submit the same entirely to the wisdom of 
your lordships. 

L For the qualification of members we doubt how 
far such provisions are expedient for Ireland — 
whether the qualification be not too high, and the 
exceptions too few. 

4 An amendment, however, is absolutely necessary. 
No member is to sit, according to the Act, till his 
qualification is proved, while a full House is sitting, 
with the Speaker in the chair. The law, therefore, 
can never be executed, nor any business at all, be- 
cause no Speaker can be chosen before the members 
have a right to vote ; and no member can exercise his 
right of voting till such Speaker is chosen.' 1 

1 1 Report of the Attorney- and of a Committee of the Privy Coun- 
Solicitor-General of England to cil Appointed to Consider the 
the Right Honourable the Lords Irish Bills. March 5, 1762.' S. P. 0. 




The penal laws had failed to coerce the Catholics 
into conformity. The Charter schools had failed to 
convert them. The penal laws had failed because 
the English Government had interposed to protect 
the Catholic clergy. The Charter schools had failed, 
having been choked in Irish society, as wholesome 
vegetables are choked in a garden when the weeds are 
allowed scope to spring. 1 Celtic Ireland was reviving 
from the stupor into which she had been thrown by 
the Eevolution. Exclusion from the land had driven 
the more energetic of the Catholics into trade. Pro- 
testants who had to seek their fortunes had gone to 
countries where they were more fairly dealt with, and 
had left the field open. A commercial Catholic popu- 
lation, ambitious and wealthy, was springing up in 
Dublin, Limerick, and Cork ; and a time was visibly 
approaching when their relations to the soil would 
have to be reconsidered. Liberal English politicians 
were already looking to the Catholics as a convenient 
counterpoise to the Protestant colonists, whom ill- 

1 Within a few years of their 
establishment the Charter schools 
had ceased to grow. Private bene- 
factions fell off; and though Par- 
liament made no difficulty in voting 
money, the annual grants were 
swallowed up by peculation. The 
industrial training, so excellent in 
conception, degenerated by negli- 
gence into a system in which the 
children became the slaves of the 
masters, and grew up in rags and 
starvation. As the numbers fell 

off, infant nurseries were esta- 
blished, the society observing that 
parents were more willing to part 
with their children when very 
young. These nurseries, from a 
report of one of the managers to 
the House of Commons, appear at 
last to have been merely foundling 
asylums, twenty infants having 
been found at one of them ' exposed 
among the carpenters' shavings.' 
Cunwwns' Journals, November 10, 



BOOK usage was exasperating into disaffection. A section 
_ x •_. of the Catholics, in return — the educated men of 
business, the more temperate of the bishops, the noble- 
men of Norman- English blood, the Fingals, the Ken- 
mares, the Trimlestons, who had preserved their estates 
and were allowed their titles by courtesy — were wil- 
ling enough to meet advances to them with cordiality 
and gratitude. 

By the side of these, within the same communion, 
were the irreconcilable spirits who inherited the past 
traditions — the representatives of the dispossessed 
chiefs — who nursed in secret their unappeased resent- 
ment, and revenged their wrongs when opportunity 
offered, as ravishers of women, cattle-houghers, in- 
cendiaries, and agrarian assassins. To them England 
was the cause of all the woes which they suffered, 
and was and should be to the end a loathed and exe- 
crated enemy. They were themselves the descend- 
ants of the men who had fought at Aghrim, and been 
cheated at Limerick. In the French brigade they 
had still an army on the Continent, which they re- 
cruited annually from their own ranks, and to which 
they looked as their future avenger. 

The first section accepted their situation, and made 
the best of it. The second brooded over their wrongs, 
and fed themselves with dreams of vengeance. Both, 
perhaps, were at bottom of the same nature, and 
were working towards the same end ; but their out- 
ward attitude was markedly different. The English 
Government, accepting the distinction as real, made 
it the basis of its Irish policy, and the rule of the 
Castle statesmanship was to conciliate the more repu- 
table Catholics, and to assume, that the Catholic creed, 
as sucli, no longer forbade or interfered with alle- 



giance to a Protestant sovereign. The first open sign chap. 
of the approaching change was in the viceroyalty of - — r — 
the Duke of Bedford, who, while in office in 1757, 
spoke in terms so unambiguous of a relaxation of the 
penal laws, that public thanks were bestowed on him 
from the altars of the Catholic chapels. It might 
have been well to relax the penal laws had the causes 
for which they were imposed been clearly asserted 
and admitted. Unhappily the desire of conciliation 
was pressed so far as to disfigure and conceal the facts 
of history. An annual sermon, preached before the 
House of Commons on the 23rd of October, was de- 
signed to keep alive the memory of the rebellion and 
massacres of 1641. Dr. Curry, a Catholic physician 
of eminence, ventured boldly on the same ground. In 
a memoir of the period he revived the plea which was 
alleged to Charles the Second in bar of the Act of 
Settlement, that the rebellion was no rebellion, but 
the innocent and cruelly misrepresented effort of a 
loyal people to defend the Crown against Puritan 
usurpation ; that half of the alleged cruelties were the 
invention of fanatical bigots ; that the rest were enor- 
mously exaggerated ; and that so far as blood had 
been shed at all, it was only in self-defence against a 
deliberate design to exterminate the Catholic popu- 

Dr. Curry's story will not bear examination, but it 
was well contrived to fall in with the growing senti- 
ment that the past had better be forgotten ; and thus 
a legend was allowed to re-establish itself unreproved, 
which teaches the Irish Catholics to regard themselves 
as victims of an atrocious conspiracy — a conspiracy to 
rob them of their lands, and to justify it by blacken- 
ing their reputation. 



book Bedford proposed to repeal the bill against the 

. 3j . clergy, and to allow an adequate supply of priests, 

ordained abroad, to be systematically introduced and 
registered. The Catholics declined an offer which, 
in legalising the presence of their clergy, would have 
deprived them of their bishops -, 1 but they were too 
shrewd to refuse to recognise the good intentions of 
the Government, and they made haste to display in 
other ways their willingness to meet them. The 
splendid triumphs of Chatham's foreign policy — the 
conquest of India, the expulsion of the French from 
the Canadas, and the victories of the English every- 
where, as unexpected as they were brilliant, pro- 
voked Louis XV. to aim a blow in return at Eng- 
land's vulnerable side. The officers of the Irish 
brigade held out the usual hope that an invasion of 
Munster would be followed by a rising of the people. 
The intention becoming known, the Dublin Catholics 
came forward with a demonstration of loyalty. 
Under Dr. Curry's guidance a declaration of allegi- 
ance, signed by three hundred Catholic merchants, 
was presented to the Viceroy, received graciously, 
and published in the 4 Gazette.' The supineness of the 
Protestants played into their hands. The French 

1 It seems, from a letter of Dr. 
O'Connor to Dr. Curry, that the 
offer was not refused without hesi- 
tation. 1 They offer us a Registry 
Dill,' he writes, 1 which is calcu- 
lated to extirpate our very remains. 
Nothing can be better known than 
that our spiritual economy cannot 
be exercised without the spiritual 
jurisdiction of our bishops. Yet 
the jurisdiction of Catholic bishops 
is totally overturned by this blessed 
boon which is to destroy Popery 

by Popery itself. . . I see now 
there is no remedy but emigration. 
I can never think of this legal 
annihilation of episcopal authority 
without alternate emotions of 
anger and dejection. I am told 
that after this Bill passes, the penal 
clauses shall be as little enforced 
as those already existing. Vain 
presumption ! This penal law is 
calculated to execute itself; and 
ourselves shall be the executioners.' 
Plowden, Appendix, No. 61. 



fleet sailed. It was destroyed by Hawke at Belleisle, 1 chap. 
and the opportunity of proving the sincerity of their ■ — I— 
professions was not afforded them; but their outward 
conduct contrasted not a little to their advantage 
with the languor of the Lords and Commons and the 
Irish Executive. 

The Catholics, though disarmed, were at least out- 
wardlv zealous. The colonists were snarling over 
the initiation of money bills, or dishonestly ma- 
noeuvring with Septennial Acts. Dr. Curry pursued 
his advantage. He established a permanent com- 
mittee in Dublin to watch over Catholic interests in 
communication with the Government. For some 
unexplained reason, Spanish influence was thought 
more powerful for evil in Ireland than the French, 
and when, in 1761, Spain was added to the number of 1701. 
England's enemies, the committee thought the time 
was come to sue for distinct recognition. 

4 The conduct,' wrote Lord Halifax, in explaining 
the overture which was made to him, 2 c which the 
Roman Catholics of this country are likely to observe 
in the course of the war with France and Spain is of 
great consequence. The French interest would, I 
believe, never have found any essential support ; but 
a different effect might be apprehended from the 
Spanish connection. I have, therefore, watched the 
Catholics carefully, and I have now the pleasure of 
transmitting professions which I trust will give as 
much satisfaction to you as to me. Lord Trimleston 3 
is the most sensible man belonsnno; to the Catholics 
in this country. His weight with them is great, and 

1 November 20, 1759. 

2 ' Halifax and Egremont Corre- 
spondence, 1762.' S. P. 0. 

3 Robert Barnewalle, descended 
from Sir Robert Barnewalle, cre- 
ated Lord Trimleston byEdward IV. 



BOOK he is most to be depended on. He assures me that 
— V — all impressions in favour of the Stuart family are 
worn out with gentlemen of consequence and fortune 
in this country. The present war, he says, has oc- 
casioned such a strain on England, as has suggested 
to his majesty's Roman Catholic subjects here, that 
means may possibly now be struck out whereby they 
may give proof of their loyalty. They have nothing 
so much at heart. 

4 1 reminded him that no Roman Catholic officer, 
without which he seemed to think that no consider- 
able body of men could be raised, could by law be 
admitted into his majesty's service. He answered 
that their best endeavours should be exerted for the 
King's service in any way he should be pleased to 
direct. On so general an opening many ideas crowded 
on me ; we are engaged in two wars when we were 
almost exhausted by one ; what men will be wanted 
your lordship best knows. I asked whether, if his 
majesty's allies, Prussia, Hesse, Portugal, or any 
other friendly powers wanted troops, they could be 
raised. He said that what the Roman Catholics of 
Ireland most wished, as they could not by law serve 
under his majesty as king, was that they might be 
taken into his service as Elector of Hanover. He 
added, the Irish brigade in France are so disgusted 
with that service, that if a door was opened to them 
by his majesty they would crowd to it. An offer of 
this sort, and at such a time, would be suspicious if 
those who made it were not ready to give every 
pledge of their sincerity. Such as it is I lay it before 
your lordship.' 

Enclosed in this letter was an address signed 4 by 
the principal Catholic noblemen and gentlemen, pro- 


fessing to contain the sentiments of all Papists of 
consequence/ and a circular 4 sent by the Catholic 
bishops to the priests of every parish in the kingdom.' 
The address expressed gratitude for past 1 clemency.' 
It declared the eagerness of the Catholics of Ireland 
to exert themselves in their country's cause wherever 
they should be thought worthy to be employed ; and 
it dwelt on the regret felt by them that hitherto they 
had been unable to give more than passive proofs of 
the goodness of their disposition. The circular was 
to remind the congregations of the duty of obedience 
to the Government, and of the lenity and indulgence 
with which they had been lately treated. It bade them 
recollect that the penal laws had been enacted in 
reigns anterior to the accession of the House of 

The petition was well timed. It was modest in 
conception. It found England in a state of just and 
growing irritation with the Protestant Parliament 
and gentry. 

* His majesty,' Egremont replied, ' receives with 
confidence and pleasure the assurances which Lord 
Trimleston has given, and you may signify as much 
to his lordship. Difficulties have been started as to 
the legality of the King's raising a body of Eoman 
Catholics though for the service of the Elector of 
Hanover, but his majesty is desirous to give them 
an opportunity of exerting their loyalty. His ma- 
jesty is about to send help to Portugal. It might be 
possible to induce a certain number of Catholics of 
Ireland to engage for a limited period in the Portu- 
guese service. His majesty would count it as an 
effectual assistance and an agreeable mark of zeal.' 1 

1 ' Egremont to Halifax, February 23, 1762.' S. P. 0. 



book The negotiation once opened ripened rapidly. 
\- . Trimleston went to England to speak with the 
ministers. Lord Kenmare undertook the raising of 
the troops. Seven regiments were to be collected, 
drilled, and armed in Ireland. They were to retain 
their privileges as British subjects. They were to be 
under the protection and virtually under the command 
of their own sovereign. The time of service was ten 
years, at the end of which they were to return to their 
country. 1 

The people were enthusiastic ; recruits poured 
in. In a few weeks an Irish Catholic army would 
have been once more on foot. Unhappily the consent 
was needed of the Irish House of Commons, and a 
feeling, which Halifax regarded as ill-bred bigotry, 
blighted the promising experiment. Objections were 
raised that so many hands could not be spared from 
labour, objections of a hundred kinds, and from every 
party combined. The unexpressed but real ground 
of opposition was an obstinate and fanatical dislike to 
see £ favour or confidence shown to the Catholics/ 2 

Whether Irish Protestant bigotry or English 
liberalism had formed the more correct view of the 
situation will be immediately seen. 

1 Proposals for the Catholic regiments, March 14. S. P. 0. 

2 ' Halifax to Egreniont, April 17, 1762.' S. P. 0. 




Lord Trimleston and the Dublin Committee in- chap. 
sisted that the Catholics of Ireland had been loyal to — r — 
the British Government. Had the fact been as they 
represented it, Catholic loyalty would have furnished 
an unanswerable proof of the wisdom of the penal 
laws. The inveterate turbulence of the Irish race 
would have at last yielded, and the rude assertion of 
authority and the demonstrated hopelessness of re- 
sistance would have broken a spirit which for six 
centuries had baffled any previous effort either to 
conciliate or subdue it. That the Catholic gentry 
who had retained part of their estates, and the leading 
Catholic clergy who understood the relative strength 
of the two countries, were unwilling to renew a 
struggle which, if unsuccessful, would entail fresh for- 
feitures and the execution of laws at present suspended, 
Is doubtless perfectly true. That the other section of 
the Catholics, the heirs of the land which had been 
torn from their ancestors, and the dependents of the 
ruined families whose interests were the interests of 
their chiefs ; that the poorer priests who identified 
their faith with their country, who looked to the un- 
broken spirit of the old race to reconquer for them 
the supremacy of their Church, that these were either 
disheartened or reconciled, that under any circum- 
stances, short of full restoration and expiation, these 
men would cease to regard England and the English 
connection with any feelings short of inveterate 
hatred, could be believed only by persons who were 
wilfully blind to the unchangeableness of the Irish 

c 2 



BOOK disposition. Had the new owners of the soil resided 

, v -_ on their estates, had they taught their unwilling 

tenants that the rule of England meant the rule of 
justice, had colonies of Scots and Englishmen been 
scattered over the land, had the Irish been able 
to learn by the contrast the material advantages of 
industry and energy, had they found in their con- 
querors beneficent masters who would have put down 
wrong doing and oppression of man by man, who 
would have erected schools for their children, who 
would have treated them as human beings and helped 
them to live in decency, they were not framed so 
differently from the common posterity of Adam 
but that in time their prejudices would have given 
way. But to four-fifths of the Irish peasantry the 
Change of masters meant only a grinding tyranny, 
and tyranny the more unbearable because inflicted by 
aliens in blood and creed. Under their own chiefs 
they had been miserable, but they were suffering at 
least at the hands of their natural sovereigns ; and the 
clansman who bore his lord's name, and if harshly 
used by his own master, was protected by him against 
others, could not feel himself utterly without a 
friend. But the oppression of the peasantry in the 
last century was not even the oppression of a living 
man — it was the oppression of a system. The peasant 
of Tipperary was in the grasp of a dead hand. The 
will of a master whom he never saw was enforced 
against him by a law irresistible as destiny. The 
absentee landlords of Ireland had neither community 
of interest with the people nor sympathy of race. 
They had no fear of provoking their resentment, for 
they lived beyond their reach. They had no desire 
for their welfare, for as individuals they were ignorant 



of their existence. They regarded their Irish estates chap. 
as the sources of their income; their only desire was . — ^ — 
to extract the most out of them which the soil could 
be made to yield; and they cared no more for the 
souls and bodies of those who were in fact committed 
to their charge than the owners of a AVest Indian 
plantation for the herds of slaves whose backs were 
blistering in the cane fields. 

Thus universally through the southern provinces 
there was settled and sullen discontent. The pea- 
santry continued to regard the land as their own; 
and with the general faith that wrong cannot last 
for ever, they waited for the time when they would 
once more have possession of it. 4 The lineal 
descendants of the old families,' wrote Arthur 
Young, in 1774, c are now to be found all over the 
kingdom, working as cottiers on the lands which 
were once their own. In such great revolutions of 
property the ruined proprietors have usually been 
extirpated or banished. In Ireland the case was 
otherwise, and it is a fact that in most parts of the 
kingdom the descendants of the old land-owners 
regularly transmit by testamentary deed the memorial 
of their right to those estates which once belonged 
to their families.' 1 Acts of savage ferocity which 
burst out from time to time showed that the volcanic 
fires were unextinguished, and might at any moment 
break out once more ; and all along there was a secret 
connection between local agrarian passion and political 
disaffection. The Irish brigade served as an escape 
valve for the fiercer enthusiasts. The clergy had 
been directed from Kome to support the claims of 
the Pretender, and the Pretender's cause was never 
popular with the indigenous Irish. They had not 

1 Tour in Ireland, vol. ii., p. 103. 



boi 8 forgiven the Act of Settlement or the cowardice 

* which had betrayed them on the Boyne. They 

were ready, however, if a chance offered itself, and 
if there was no better outlook, to take arms in 
his favour ; and although Lord Trimleston might 
have said truly that the Catholic gentry had ceased 
to take an interest in the Stuart cause, he was de- 
ceiving himself or deceiving the Viceroy when he 
undertook to speak for the Catholics as a whole. 
Coincidently with the intended invasion and the 
appearance on the coast of M. Thurot, began the 
celebrated Whiteboy disturbances in Tipperary. 
Many causes had combined at that moment to exas- 
perate the normal irritation of the southern peasantry. 
With the growth of what was called civilisation, ab- 
senteeism, the worst disorder of the country, had 
increased. In Charles the Second's time the absentees 
were few or none. But the better Irish gentlemen 
were educated, and the more they knew of the rest of 
the world, the less agreeable they found Ireland and 
Irish manners ; while the more they separated them- 
selves from their estates, the more they increased their 
rents to support the cost of living elsewhere. The 
rise in prices, the demand for salt beef and salt butter 
for exportation and for the fleets, 1 were revolutionising 
the agriculture of Munster. The great limestone pas- 
tures of Limerick and Tipperary, the fertile meadow 
land universally, was falling into the hands of capi- 
talist graziers, in whose favour the landlords, or the 
landlords' agents, were evicting the smaller tenants. 2 

1 The war gave an enormous Meath, and Waterford there are to 

stimulus to the salt heef trade. he found the greatest graziers and 

Not only were the English fleets cowkeepers, perhaps, in the world : 

supplied from Cork, but the French some who rent and occupy from 

and Spanish as well. 3 ; 000/. to 10,000/. a year.— Arthur 

3 In Limerick, Tipperary, Clare, Young, vol. ii., p. 102. 



They had the aims of English men of business with- chap. 
out the redeeming features of the English character. v__,: — 
Their object was to make money, and they cared not 
at what cost to the people that object was attained; 
while they combined with their unscrupulousness the 
worst \ices of the worst class of the lower Irish 
gentry, and were slovenly, extravagant, and dissi- 
pated. 1 To the peasantry these men were a curse. 
Common lands, where their own cows had been fed, 
were enclosed and taken from them. The change from 
tillage to grazing destroyed their employment. Their 
sole subsistence was from their potato gardens, the 
rents of which were heavily raised, while, by a curious 
mockery of justice, the grass lands were exempt from 
tythe, and the burden of maintaining the rectors and 
vicars of the Established Church was cast exclusively 
on the Catholic poor. 

Among a people who are suffering under a common 
wrong there is a sympathy of resentment which links 
them together without visible or discoverable bond. 
In the spring of 1760 Tipperary was suddenly over- 
run by bands of midnight marauders. Who they were 
was a mystery. Humours reached England of insur- 
gent regiments drilling in the moonlight ; of French 
officers observed passing and repassing the Channel ; 
but no French officer could be detected in Munster. 
The most rigid search discovered no stands of arms, 
such as soldiers use or could use. This only was cer- 
tain, that white figures were seen in vast numbers, like 
moving clouds, flitting silently at night over field and 

1 These graziers are too apt to nine-tenths of the year without 

attend to their claret as much any exertion of industry, contract 

as to their bullocks ; they live ex- such a habit of ease that works of 

pensively ; and being enabled from improvement would be mortifying 

the nature of their business to pass to their sloth. — Ibid. 



moor, leaving behind them the tracks of where they had 

■ passed in levelled fences and houghed and moaning 

cattle; where the owners were specially hateful, in 
Mazing homesteads, and the inmates' bodies blacken- 
ing in the ashes. Arrests were generally useless. The 
country was sworn to secrecy. Through the entire 
central plains of Ireland the people were bound by 
the most solemn oaths never to reveal the name of 
a confederate, or give evidence in a court of justice. 
When subpoenaed, forced to appear, and thus to per- 
jure themselves on one side or the other, they preferred 
to keep the oath to their friends. Thus it was long 
uncertain how the movement originated, who were 
its leaders, and whether there was one or many. 
Letters signed by Captain Dwyer or Joanna Meskell 
were left at the doors of obnoxious persons, ordering 
lands to be abandoned under penalties. If the com- 
mands were uncomplied with, the penalties were 
inexorably inflicted. In one fortnight four innocent 
girls, who had the misfortune to be the children of 
wealthy parents on Captain Dwyer' s black list, were 
carried off, violated, and forced into marriage with 
the ceremonies which have been described elsewhere. 
Torture usually being preferred to murder, male 
offenders against the Whiteboys were houghed like 
their cattle, or their tongues were torn out by the 
roots. Another favourite amusement was to seize 
some poor wretch in his bed, carry him naked to a 
hill side, fling him into a pit lined with thorns, and 
tilling in the earth to his chin, leave him to iive or 
die. 1 

1 Many Whiteboy letters are Harden had taken the lands of a 
preserved in Dublin Castle. On worthy gentleman . . He had 
March. 11, 1700, Captain Dwyer promised on the Evangelists to 
gave notice that a certain John restore them, and the promise was 



It was necessary to repress these atrocities. In 
a country which is unfortunately governed by a 

still unfulfilled. John Harden was 
informed that unless the deed of 
surrender was signed by a particu- 
lar day, his house should be burnt, 
his cattle and his children should 
be houghed, his own tongue should 
be cut out, and he should then be 
shot dead and be ' sent to the 
shades below.' 

Samuel Geylin, doubly obnoxi- 
ous as a grazier and a revenue 
officer, who had been rash enough, 
like a notorious villain, to make a 
seizure of tobacco, was cautioned 
to behave with more lenity and 
mildness, or he should have a 
brace of bullets in his body, &c. 
Other manifestoes were more tem- 
perate, and are instructive, as 
showing the real grievances of 
which the people had to complain. 
Here is one of them for the year 
1762 :— 

' We, levellers and avengers for 
the wrongs done to the poor, have 
unanimously assembled to raze 
walls and ditches that have been 
made to enclose the commons. 
Gentlemen now of late have learned 
to grind the face of the poor so 
that it is impossible for them to 
live. They cannot even keep a 
pig or a hen at their doors. We 
warn them not to raise again either 
walls or ditches in the place of 
those we destroy, nor even to en- 
quire about the destroyers of them. 
If they do, their cattle shall be 
houghed and their sheep laid open 
in the fields. Gentlemen, we beg 
you will consider the case of the 
poor now-a-days. You that live 
on the fat of the land consider poor 
creatures whom you harass with- 
out means of proper subsistence. 
Use them better for the future, 

and do not imagine it is with a 
view of creating trouble for the 
Government we do this thing, for 
we are as loyal to our king and 
country as you are.' 

The most interesting of all the 
Whiteboy papers is a letter from 
Joanna Meskell to a gentleman 
who had called a county meeting 
to concert measures for restoring 
order, or, as Joanna expressed it, 
i for defeating the method I have 
taken to ward otf an impending 
fanjine from my poor people which 
some persons erroneously call a 

k Your Honour is sensible,' she 
says, ' that while of the land which 
their ancestors held at four or 
five shillings an acre they got 
a few acres at four pounds, to set 
potatoes in, they behaved peace- 
ably and quietly. Your Honour 
is also sensible that the laws of the 
land have made no provision for 
them, and that the customs of the 
country seem to have been ap- 
pointed for their total destruction 
and desolation ; upstarts supplant- 
ing my poor people on expira- 
tion of their leases, and stocking 
their lands with bullocks, a practice 
not known in any part of the 
world, Ireland only excepted. J 
have thought it incumbent on me 
to provide for the support of my 
people as inoffensively as I could, 
by ordering them to dig up a few 
fields, offering to occupiers treble 
rent for the same. As to the kill- 
ing of cattle on a late occasion, it 
was intended as a scheme to awe 
some obstinate and uncharitable 
stock-jobbers into compliance with 
the just and necessary demands of 
my poor afflicted people. The 


Parliament representing only the holders of property, 
the crimes of the poor receive more attention than 
the causes of them. The Irish gentry regarded the 
Whitcboy movement as an insurrection against the 
rights of property and the Protestant religion. The 
English Government, caring little for landlord or 
tenant, and less for Protestant ascendency, enquired 
only whether the leaders were in correspondence 
with France. Egremont declared, on information of 
his own, that c the grievances of the poor were a pre- 
tence.' 4 The inveterate enemies of England, driven 
to despair elsewhere, were taking to Ireland as a last 
resource.' 1 Halifax, under the influence of Trimleston 
and the Dublin committee, persuaded himself that 
the disturbances had been encouraged by the ultra- 
Protestant faction to revive the terrors of Popery, and 
prevent the formation of the Irish Catholic regiments. 
Tipperary was proclaimed. Troops were sent to the 
baronies where the disorders had been most violent. 
Sir William Aston, Chief Justice of the Common 
Pleas, went with a special commission to Clonmel, to 
try the prisoners with which the gaols were crowded. 
The result was the almost universal acquittal, which 
Halifax anticipated and desired. The prosecution 

premises considered, I flatter my- 
self you will please to commiserate 
the deplorable state of the poor by 
putting the Tillage Act* in force for 
them, for my army, which consists 
of no less than 500,000 effective 
men in this kingdom ready to take 
the field at a few hours' notice, 
cannot live on air. They shall be 
all entirely devoted to his majesty's 

* Act ordering all landholders 
to keep five acres in tillage out of 
every hundred which they occupied. 

service, provided they are used 
with lenity ; but if at the instance 
of a few self-interested persons you 
shall take any violent or rigorous 
steps against them, no gentleman 
having been hitherto molested, you 
may blame yourselves for the con- 

' Your Honour's obedient servant, 


MSS. Dublin Castle. 
1 ' Egremont to Halifax, April 
13, 1762.' S. P. O. 



broke down for want of evidence. The House of chap. 
Commons had appointed a committee to enquire into - — i — 
the causes of ' the Popish insurrection of Minister.' 1 
Halifax insisted that the most careful scrutiny had 
failed to discover any traces either of political or reli- 
gious disaffection; that the riots had been purposely 
exaggerated, and were completely at an end. 2 Five 
Whiteboys were executed at Waterford, whose guilt, 
after all, was but half proved. A few more were sent 
on board the fleet. The rest of the prisoners were 
dismissed; and so well pleased were the peasantry 
with the Chief Justice, that when the commission 
was over, and he left Clonmel, the road was lined 
with women and children, imploring blessings on 
him, upon their knees. 

Yet Egremont, after all, had been partially right, 
and the House of Commons partially right ; and of 
the three interpretations given of the Whiteboy rising, 
that of Halifax and Aston was the furthest from the 
truth. The acquittal might have been right if op- 
pression be an excuse for crime. Yet, as in 1797, 
behind the defenders lay the schemes of the United 
Irishmen, so in 1762, behind the agrarian riots lay 
treason, political and religious ; and the wrongs of 
the exasperated peasantry were only the instruments 
of intriguing and more dangerous incendiaries. The 
most remarkable feature in the story is the suc- 
cess with which, though thousands were acquainted 
with the secret, an organised scheme of revolt, 

1 Commons' Journals, April 12, rioters, who will be considered 
1762. again -what they always were, a 

2 'I can assure you, if his majesty rabble destitute of employment 
should accidentally lay aside the and wretched in their circum- 
plan of the Roman Catholic corps, stances.' — < Halifax to Egremont, 
he will hear nothing further of the April 17, 1762.' 



BOOK encouraged by some at least of the highest persons in 
v — the Catholic Church, was concealed from the strictest 
investigation. Halifax, at the close of the session of 
1762, congratulated Parliament on the restoration of 
order ; yet order was not restored. The nightly 
orgies of the Whiteboys, after Aston's return to 
Dublin, continued precisely as before. Emboldened 
by impunity, they became at length so terrible, that 
for three years they were the lawgivers and masters 
of Tipperary. The police had no existence. The 
parish constables were no match for the secret socie- 
ties, and the scanty garrisons of soldiers were not 
allowed to be too active. The large landowners 
were absentees. The magistrates were the smaller 
gentry, the clergy, and the middlemen. They lived 
at a distance from each other, and with few servants; 
and exposed to vengeance in detail, they were too 
prudent to bring Captain Dwyer's and Joanna's 
armies on them. Occasional arrests were attempted 
after some unusually audacious outrage ; but the signal 
vengeance always taken upon informers made legal 
convictions impossible. Prisoners were rescued from 
their escorts by armed and disciplined bodies, who 
attacked them on the roads, and from 1762 to 1765 
the central plain of Ireland, from Mallow to West- 
meath, was under Captain Dwyer's dictatorship. His 
rule had its merits. The graziers were brought to 
their bearings. The landlords, in fear of him, lowered 
their rents. Unfortunately he had less innocent aims, 
on which the Whiteboy fortunes were shipwrecked.! 
Presuming on impunity, they attacked a village in 
Waterford, which was armed and prepared to receive 
them. They were beaten back, with a loss of thirty! 
or forty men. The gentry recovered courage. Lord''! 



Carrick and Lord Drogheda set themselves at the chap. 
head of an active combination to restore the regular — r — 
authority. Bodies were formed of armed volunteers. 
Where property was destroyed, the baronies were 
assessed for compensation, and were compelled to pay. 
High rewards were offered for information, and as 
law re-asserted itself, the terrors by degrees wore 
away. It had been evident from the first, to those 
who knew the country, that more was at work than 
peasant discontent. As the dread of vengeance was 
removed, the mystery was at length revealed. 

Suspicion had many times been directed to the 
parish priest of Clogheen, in Tipperary, Father Nicholas 
Sheehy. In patriotic histories this reverend person is 
described as of ' Quixotic turn of mind,' with a quick 
resentment against wrong, and eagerness to redress it. 
He had made himself conspicuous in the defence of 
prisoners. His parish was notorious as a Whiteboy 
centre. It was assumed that he could not be ignorant 
of the secrets of his flock. More than once he was ar- 
rested and indicted under the Registration Act ; but 
the prosecution failed, and Father Nicholas was still 
at large. At length, after the affair in Water ford, 
when active measures were resumed, an informer 
named Bridges disappeared under circumstances which 
made it certain that he had been murdered. An escort 
! of troops, carrying a prisoner to Clonmel gaol, was set 
upon near Sheehy's house, and several soldiers were 
killed. He was suspected of being concerned in the 
rescue. He was charged with high treason, and a 
reward of 300Z. was offered for his capture. Secure 
of the fidelity of those whose evidence could alone 
convict him, Father Nicholas wrote to the Secretary, 
offering to surrender, if he could be tried, not at 



book Clonmel, but in Dublin. The condition was accepted. 

— l^— - He was brought to the bar. The evidence was insuf- 
ficient, and he was triumphantly acquitted. The 
Lords Justices were certain of his guilt, though, as 
often happens in Ireland, they could not produce their 
proofs. There was a second charge, which they be- 
lieved that they could bring home to him. He was 
charged with his brother Edmund — Buck Sheehy as 
the brother was called — with being concerned in the 
informer's murder. The promise made to him had 
been observed in the letter, it was, perhaps, broken 
in the spirit when he was sent back, to be tried for 
murder, from Dublin to Clonmel. 

So great was the excitement, that at the time of 
the trial the court-house was surrounded by a party 
of cavalry. The body of Bridges had not been found, 
and witnesses came forward to swear that he had left 
the country. It was proved, however, that there had 
been a conspiracy to murder him, and that the Sheehies 
knew it. A Mr. Keating, described as a gentleman 
of property in the county, offered to prove that Father 
Nicholas was at his house on the night when, if ever, 
the murder was committed ; but Mr. Hewetson, a 
clergyman and an active magistrate, rose in court, 
and said that he had a charge against Keating for 
having been present at the killing of the soldiers. 
Keating's evidence was refused, and he was committed 
to the gaol at Kilkenny. The Sheehies were found 
guilty, and were both hanged. It was an extreme 
measure. The breach of faith in returning him to 
Tipperary, the military occupation of the town, the 
non-discovery of the body, and the refusal to hear 
his witness, led to an impression, even with moderate 
persons, that he had been unfairly dealt with. Both 



he and his brother protested their innocence on the chap. 
scaffold. The Crown counsel, acting on secret infor- > — r — 
mation, asked him if the Whiteboys were connected 
with France or the Pretender. He declared that lie had 
never heard of any such connection, and disbelieved 
in its existence. Then and afterwards, therefore, 
the Irish Catholics insisted that Father Sheehy was a 
murdered man. With a curious paralogism they re- 
garded him as the victim of his love for Ireland, and, 
at the same time, as guiltless of having shown it ; and 
he was raised on the spot to an honoured place in 
the Irish martyrology. His tomb became a place of 
pilgrimage — a scene at which the Catholic Celt could 
renew annually his vow of vengeance against the 
assassins of Ireland's saints. The stone which lay 
above his body was chipped in pieces by enthusiastic 
relic hunters. The execution is anions the stereo- 
typed enormities which justify an undying hatred 
against the English rule and connection. 

Yet the Government essentiallv was ri«:ht : and if 
treason and murder are crimes at all in Ireland, 
Father Sheehy was as deep a criminal as ever swung 
from crossbeam. He died as others had died, keep- 
ing the oath of secrecy which he had sworn as a 
Whiteboy, and going out of the world with a lie upon 
his lips, to leave a doubt of the justice of his sentence 
as a stain upon the law which had condemned him. 
Either to set at rest the misgivings which Sheehy's 
words had caused, or relieved of their fears by the 
restored energy of the law, Father O'Brien, the co- 
adjutor of the Archbishop of Cashel, and four other 
Catholic gentlemen, came forward and revealed, under 
oath, the inner history of Whiteboy ism. Father 
O'Brien swore to having been told by the Archbishop 


of Cashel that the rising of the Whiteboys was for 
the advancement of the Catholic faith and the extir- 
pation of heresy; that as there was but one God, 
there would soon be but one religion; and that with 
the help of France the Yetus Hibernia should be re- 
stored. A fund had been regularly collected by the 
Catholic priests in the diocese in support of the move- 
ment. The person by whom the money was distributed 
was Father Nicholas Sheehy. David Landregan swore 
that he had been made a Whiteboy in 1762; that 
at his initiation he had sworn to be faithful to the 
King of France and Prince Charles. Many times he 
had gone on night expeditions with the Sheehies and 
their friend Keating. They had meant to murder 
Lord Carrick, Sir Thomas Maude, and Mr. Hewetson, 
and had been prevented only by the Sheehies' arrest. 
Five hundred of them had met one night on the race- 
course at Clogheen. Lord Drogheda with a detach- 
ment of troops was in the town. Father Sheehy had 
proposed to set it on fire, and destroy them. The 
priest of Ardfinnan, as they were about to do it, fell 
on his knees, and gave them his curse if they moved. 
4 For,' he said, ' we are not yet ripe for such a blow, 
nor can we, till Prince Charles and his friends from 
France land for our assistance. If we attempt it be- 
fore that time, every Protestant in Ireland will be in 
arms, and give no quarter to man, woman, or child 
of us.' 

Mr. Eawley, of Tipperary, professed to have been 
sworn a AVhiteboy by the Archbishop himself. Again 
his oath had been to be faithful to France and Prince 
Charles. The French were coming, with the Prince 
at their head, and then Ireland was to rise. 

James French had been enlisted by Father Sheehy. 



He had a commission as major in the Pretender's chap. 

service, and had received his pay regularly from - - J - 

Father Sheehy's hands. Their principal leaders were 
four Catholic prelates — the Archbishops of Cashel 
and Dublin, and the Bishops of AYaterford and Cork. 
At a great meeting at Drumlannon he saw Father 
Sheehy produce a Bull, which came, as he said, from 
the Pope, granting pardon and indulgence to any 
Catholic who might pretend to be a Protestant, ' the 
better to carry on their enterprise, and restore the 
Catholic religion/ 

Finally, a woman named Mary Butler described 
the attack on the soldiers. Father Sheehy, she said, 
though the Dublin jury had acquitted him, was the 
contriver of the plot and the deviser of its method. 
The Whiteboys had collected on the road, under 
pretence of a sham funeral. A sham coffin had been 
made for them to follow. Sheehy saw them in then 1 
places, and then left them to their work, hurrying off 
to say mass at his own chapel, that he might be able 
to prove an alibi. 

These depositions were sworn to with the usual 
formalities before the Mayor of Kilkenny and other 
magistrates. 1 They proved nothing against the sin- 
cerity of the Catholic press and the Catholic merchant s 
of Dublin; but they proved indisputably that there 
was a second Catholic Ireland, unreconciled and unre- 
concileable, of the existence of which they were uncon- 
scious, and that to trust to these gentlemen as the 
exponents of the feelings of their countrymen was 
fond and infatuated credulity. 2 

1 See them in the First Appendix story at some length, on account of 
to Musgrave's History of the Irish the prominence given to it by Irish 
Rebellion. historians. The celebrated Father 

2 I have told Father Sheehy's O'Leary — the most plausible, and, 




The war which was closed by the Peace of Paris, in 
February, 17G3, had cost England more than a hun- 
dred millions. Ireland had contributed in proportion 
to her resources. She had increased her debt by live 
hundred thousand pounds. She had added fifty thou- 
sand a year while the fighting lasted to the half million 
which was annually expended on her military esta- 
blishment. So great, and not greater, was the value 
of Ireland to the empire after six centuries of occu- 
pation. The Irish brigade which turned the scale at 
Fontenoy furnished more than an equivalent on the 
other side, and reduced her weight to zero. England 
came out of the conflict with singular glory. Though 
Pitt resigned before it was over, his genius, as Horace 
Walpole said, shone still 4 like an annihilated star.' 
The work had been too completely done for Bute and 
Grenville to spoil it. Ireland lay the while like some 
ill-kept back premises in the rear of the Imperial 
mansion, fit only to be concealed, and as far as pos- 
sible forgotten. She had been in distinct danger of 

perhaps, essentially the falsest of 
all Irish writers — asserted twenty 
years later that Bridges, for whose 
murder Sheehy had been hanged, 
was still alive. Mr. Dauiel Toler 
brought O'Leary's statement before 
the House of Commons. ' He was 
himself/ he said, ' High Sheriff of 
Tipperary when Sheehy suffered. 

. . He had empanelled a most 
respectable jury. Sheehy had been 
convicted on the fullest and clearest 

evidence. . . He had visited him 
afterwards in the gaol, when he con- 
fessed that Bridges had been mur- 
dered, though he denied that he 
had himself a hand in it. He had 
drawn attention to the matter,' Mr. 
Toler said, 1 to detect such agitators 
as Mr. O'Leary in their falsehood. 
A cause that required such advo- 
cates and such means of defence 
must be desperate indeed.' — Irish 
Debates, vol. vii. p. 342. 



invasion, yet she was left undefended. Forty-two chap. 

regiments furnished her nominal army contingent. r — 

There were not troops enough in the island to keep 
the peace of Tipperary. The charge for the Ord- 
nance Department was 45,000/. The whole artillery 
in the kingdom would not furnish out a thirty-gun 
frigate. 1 The linen trade had been crippled by French 
cruisers. The Dublin woollen weavers, once decent 
and well disposed, had taken to drink and oratory. 
They dropped their work on Saturday afternoon ; 
they were unfit to resume it till Tuesday morning, 
and they had formed unions to raise the wages rate 
to make good the lost day. 4 Decency in dwelling and 
apparel, which formerly obtained among them, was 
almost eradicated. In place of it were idleness, filth, 
nastiness, with unbounded licentiousness of manners,' 2 
The profits of smuggling had declined, through the 
substitution of horned cattle for sheep. The salt beef 
and salt butter trade alone flourished, and in flourish- 
ing drove the peasantry into rebellion. The Viceroys 
so detested their occupation, that for six months only 
in alternate years they could be induced to reside at 
the Castle. In the interval the country was governed 
by the Lords Justices, usually from the same families : 
a Boyle, a Beresford, a Ponsonby, and perhaps the 
Primate. The Lords Justices' object was to dis- 
tribute the patronage among their relations, while 
England's chief concern appeared to be to quarter on 
the Irish Pension List such scandalous persons as 
could not decently be provided for at home. 

Such was the beautiful condition of unlucky Ire- 
land when Halifax left it to take his place in Lord 

1 Commons' Journals, December 3, 1763. 

2 Ibid., February 28, 1764. 

d 2 



BOO k Bute's administration. The Earl of Northumberland 

. was scut to Dublin instead of him. The Pension 

List was likely to be assailed as soon as Parliament 
met; and the Cabinet thought it prudent to affect to 
intend concession. Northumberland was directed to 
inform 4 the principal persons of both Houses that 
except in cases of a particular nature, of which the 
Xing could be the only judge, his majesty did not 
intend to grant any more pensions either for life or a 
term of years, and that the King's servants in Eng- 
land did not mean for the future to recommend such 
grants/ The intimation was designed to anticipate 
the intemperate action of Parliament. But the Vice- 
roy was not to allow interference. If the Commons 
brought addresses to him on the subject, he was not 
to notice them. The prerogative must not be en- 
croached upon, nor any step be taken 1 which would 
cast a public reflexion on the past.' 1 

Thus instructed, Northumberland arrived in Dublin 
in the autumn of 1763. In the speech from the 
throne he announced the Peace, a reduction of the ex- 
penditure and a probable surplus in the revenue. The 
address in reply was cold, dictated, so Halifax believed, 
by the malevolence of Speaker Ponsonby. On the 
second day of the session the anticipated attack was 
made. A motion was introduced for an examination of 
the list of persons in receipt of his majesty's bounty. 
Northumberland, supposing that he was carrying out 
his orders, met it by the communication which he had 
been told to convey. He spoke warmly of the King's 
desire to comply with Ireland's wishes ; and the 
Council, supposing the Cabinet was in earnest, never 

1 < Halifax to Northumberland, October 22, 1763.' S. P. 0. 



dreaming that Bute and his fellow-ministers would con- chap. 

. i 
descend to trifle with them, sketched a form of grateful !■ — 

acknowledgment in which the House of Commons 
was to return its thanks. 1 Prepared as he must be 
for any extremity of folly in the dealings of English 
Cabinets with the interests of Ireland, the reader will 
learn without surprise that Bute and his fellow-mi- 
nisters had never seriously thought of surrendering 
the pensions at all. 

The Viceroy sent over the draft for approval: he 
was informed in return that he had misconceived his 
directions. He had received a message which he was 
to have delivered in private to a few persons whose 
influence might have prevented discussion in the 
House of Commons. In making it public he had 
committed a fatal indiscretion. Angry with North- 
umberland, angry with the Irish Council, angry with 
everything but their own scandalous and dishonest 
purpose, the Cabinet treated the proposed address 
as an insult to the Crown, ' disgraceful to the chief 
governor of the kingdom, disrespectful and undutiful 
to his majesty.' i The King's goodness,' Halifax 
wrote, * required a more grateful return than that he 
should be compelled to pare and abridge the rights of 
the Crown by a declaration almost equivalent to an 
Act of Parliament.' 2 

The childish trifling irritated the growing discon- 
tent. The manceuvering with the Catholics assumed 

1 The L-ish Parliament was to rests of your people, your majesty 

describe itself 'as full of gratitude will, in a peculiar manner, distin- 

for those gracious intentions re- guish your reign,' &c. 
lating to grants of offices and pen- Form enclosed by the Viceroy 

sions signified by your majesty to to Lord Halifax for approval, 

the Lord Lieutenant. Thus anti- S. P. 0. 

cipating our desire by a provident 2 ' Halifax to Northumberland, 

and watchful care over the inte- October 27, 1763.' S. P. 0. 



BOOK a more sinister complexion when accompanied with 
— so evident a purpose of misappropriating the Irish 
1768. revenues. The Parliament was unable to perceive in 
what the ' goodness,' which they were asked to ad- 
mire, consisted, and the session was spent in a series of 
violent motions which the utmost efforts of Govern- 
ment were required to defeat. A resolution was 
passed in November condemning the increase of the 
Civil List. A committee was appointed to examine the 
claims of the various gentlemen and ladies for whom 
Ireland was made to provide, and the enquiry was 
too dangerous to be encountered. 

Northumberland, after so sharp a reprimand, ven- 
tured nothing more on his own responsibility. What 
was he to do? The Lords Justices, he said, promised 
to prevent the committee from sitting, but he could 
not trust the Lords Justices. The servants of the 
Crown were lukewarm. Men in office were found 
1 dividing on the discontented side in all trying ques- 
tions.' ' Am I,' he asked, i to temporize with the 
present evil and make the best composition I can, or 
shall I strenuously assert his majesty's prerogative, 
dismiss these ungrateful servants, and reward others 
with their places who have deserved well ? ' 1 

The alternative was between disgraceful humiliation 
and persistence no less disgraceful in scandalous 
injustice. The ministry shuffled out of it as best they 
could. The Viceroy was allowed to confirm the 
promise that for the present at least the pension 
giving should be suspended. ' His majesty,' Halifax 
said (and never was king's name more abused by his 
ministers), £ was extremely displeased, both with the 

1 ' Northumberland to Halifax, November 10, 1763.' S. P. 0. 



Lords Justices and his other bad servants. The chap. 
Cabinet, however, had decided on consideration 4 that - — ^ — 
it would be unwise to throw the public business into 
confusion by depriving them of their offices.' The 
Viceroy was left to his discretion, being warned only 
to avoid pledging the Government to engagements 
beyond the present session. 1 

Such was English Government in Ireland, such the 
occupation of the Irish Legislature, at a time when even 
in the richest portion of the island the law was in 
suspense — when quiet people could not sleep in their 
beds without a military guard, and the sole authority 
recognised and obeyed was the Whiteboy Committee. 
At this moment, under the brief administration of 
Lord Rockingham, but whether at Rockingham's 
instance is more than questionable, a light breaks 
across the scene as if from the blue sky itself. The 
triumvirate which had so long monopolised the 
power and patronage was broken in 1764 by death. 
Primate Stone died and went to the place appointed 
for him. Lord Shannon died. Ponsonby only was 
left. But Shannon's heir and successor was married to 
Ponsonby's daughter. The faction was likely to re- 
establish itself under a new form, and to recommence 
a compact of corruption. The young King appears 
now to have personally interposed, and tried the ex- 
periment whether Ireland might not be managed by 
open rectitude and real integrity. Northumber- 
land retired after two years. Lord Weymouth was 
named in his place, but did not come over. Lord 
Hertford was the next actual Viceroy, and there 
remains addressed to Hertford and signed by George 

1 ' Halifax to Northumberland, November 26.' S. P. 0. 


the Third, a paper of instructions so confidential, so 
_ x _j full of references to himself, so entirely different from 
17(;> ' the ordinary official ambiguities, that they can 
scarcely be referred to any other source than the 
King's own mind. 

The new Lord Lieutenant was directed to inform 
himself completely of the true condition of the country 
and to acquaint the King. He was to attend particu- 
larly to the Church; as Crown livings fell vacant he 
was charged to appoint only pious and orthodox per- 
sons who would bind themselves to reside on their 
benefices, to make other patrons do the same, and thus 
before all other reforms to see that God Almighty was 
well served. 1 The service of God being reformed, the 
next step was to put an end to fraud. Every public 
department in Ireland was saturated with dishonesty. 
There were frauds in the revenue, frauds in the muster 
reports, frauds in the ordnance and the victualling 
stores ; evasion, jobbery, and peculation, where there 
was any public property to be stolen and official hand 
to steal it. These things were to be searched into, 
and so far as possible to be set upon a better founda- 
tion. — So far as possible. But even as the King wrote, 
it seemed to flash across him how deep the roots had 
gone of the true Upas-tree of corruption, penetrating 
below the bed of the channel and piercing to his own 

1 I cannot positively state that nection between the two countries 
in the entire correspondence of the from the accession of Elizabeth to 
Home Government with Dublin the Union, this is the only such 
Castle there is no other indication of paper which I have found. Was 
a sense of responsibility on the part it for an English minister to turn 
of English ministers as to the per- round upon the Establishment and 
sons appointed to benefices in the speak of it as the branch of a 
reformed Church of Ireland. I Upas-tree ? Is the Irish Church 
can but say that in the many to blame if it has failed of its mis- 
thousand Irish State Papers which sion ? 
I have examined, covering the con- 



Cabinet, and even to his own person, if the sign chap. 
manual could be taken as evidence against him. - ; 

c When letters come from us,' he said, ' ordering: 
money to be paid for public uses, and other private 
letters for the payment of money to particular persons, 
you will prefer the public letter before the private. 
Pay no attention to any letter from us granting money 
or lands, unless on petition previously sent through 
you, and examined and reported on by competent 
persons. Give no orders upon any letters of ours, 
either for pensions, money, lands, or titles of honour, 
unless such letters have been entered at our signet 
office. If warrants come to you contrary to these 
instructions, do not execute them. Should the re- 
venue fall short of the cost of the establishment, you 
will take care that the same is not applied to the 
payment of pensions till the rest is first paid. If 
there be not enough, you will abate the pensions.' 

The remaining orders in this singular document 
are no less straightforward and characteristic. If 
genius means an eagerness for change, a wild rushing 
after new ideas, an enthusiasm for emancipation from 
restraint, George the Third was the most common- 
place of sovereigns. If genius means a loyal recogni- 
tion of the old and tried principles established by 
the experience of ages for the guidance of mankind, 
George the Third was a safer ruler of a great empire 
than the most accomplished parliamentary rhetorician. 
He bade Hertford look to judges and magistrates, 
remove those who neglected their duty, and to fill 
their places with men of better merit. He gave him 
power over all officials, of all degrees, to appoint or 
dismiss. If any man was found to have paid money 
for an office, he was to be immediately discharged. 



k A sharp eye was to be kept on Papists. The Viceroy 
! - must issue a proclamation, bidding them bring in their 
anus, and deposit them in the arsenals, and he must 
see the order obeyed. All lawful encouragement was 
to be given to Protestant strangers resorting to 
Ireland; if many wished to settle there, 4 report to 
us,' the King said, 4 and they shall have all the help 
we can give.' 

The Articles of Limerick and Galway were to be 
strictly construed. Licenses to the Catholic gentry 
to have guns or powder must be conceded rarely, 
and with special caution. Outlawries were not to be 
reversed without permission from the crown. 

The disorders had extended to the army. 4 Survey 
all the forts in the kingdom,' the order went on. 
4 Report to us on the defences and on the stores. See 
that the troops are quartered so as to create least in- 
convenience to our subjects. See that the soldiers' 
pay is not withheld by the officers, and that miscon- 
duct, whether in high or low, does not pass un- 
noticed. If the officers tight duels, cashier them 
from time to time. Inform such officers as shall send 
or receive any challenge, or shall affront one another, 
that they shall never be employed in our service.' 

Finally, as if he was conscious where the real diffi- 
culty lay, though too young as yet to know it to be 
insurmountable, he concluded this singular paper 
with a last injunction : — 

i You will not summon a Parliament without our 
special command.' 1 

The King had struck the key-note of all Ireland's 
sorrows. How easy, had there been no Parliament, 

1 ' Instructions to the Earl of Hertford from the King, August 9, 
1765,' abridged. S. P. 0. 



the task of governing Ireland ! How easy, with a chap. 

moderate police, to have distributed equal justice, to * ^ . 

have forced the landlords to do their duties ; to have 
forced the people, unexasperated by petty tyranny, 
to submit to a law which would have been their 
friend ! How easy to have punished corruption, to 
have blown away the malaria which enveloped the 
public departments ; to have established schools; to 
have dealt equal measure to loyal subjects of every 
creed ! The empire which the genius of Give won 
for England presented a problem of government 
harder far than Ireland presented. Yet British 
faculty found means to solve it. What enchantment 
had condemned Ireland to be the victim of a constitu- 
tion of which chicanery, injustice, anarchy, and moral 
dissolution were the inevitable fruits? Infinitely 
happier it would have been for Ireland — happier, 
better, even cheaper in the long run for England, 
could her ministers have adopted loyally the scheme 
of government sketched by the King, have dispensed 
with Parliament, fallen back on the hereditary revenue, 
and made good the deficiency out of the English 
exchequer. But even this method, too, it is likely 
that parliamentary exigencies in England would 
soon have degraded to the old level. 

Reform, at any rate, was not attainable on the 
honest road which had been traced by the King; 
nor was Hertford, an absentee nobleman, and one of 
the unconscious instruments of the worst disorders of 
the country, a person to be trusted for such a pur- 
pose. An attempt was to be made to crush the 
oligarchy of the Shannons and Ponsonbies. The old 
vicious circle was to be broken through, but by such 
means as were available under the constitution. 

1 1 


Hertford retreated, after a brief ineffectual rule — 
_ J. — * the last of the Viceroys whose presence at the Castle 
w as limited to the parliamentary session. Thus much 
was recognized, that thenceforward the representative 
of the Crown must be a permanent resident; that the 
Lords Justices must be dispensed with, except for acci- 
dental exigencies, and the patronage be absorbed by 
the Lord Lieutenant. It was a nice operation, re- 
quiring courage, dexterity, discretion, firmness, quali- 
ties social and intellectual not often combined. Lord 
Bristol was first thought of. He accepted the office, 
and prepared to enter on it ; but the longer he looked 
at what was expected from him, the less he liked the 
prospect. Lord Bristol's most important act of au- 
thority was to appoint his brother Frederic to the 
Bishopric of Cloyne — of all misuses of Irish Church 
patronage the grossest instance. He died soon after, 
and the bishop succeeded to the earldom, to play a 
memorable part in the development of the coming 
drama. The nobleman finally selected to carry out the 
intended alterations in the Irish Government was Lord 
Townshend, distinguished hitherto as a soldier, grand- 
son of Walpole's Townshend, and brother of Charles, 
who was now English Chancellor of the Exchequer. 




A few more words of prelude are necessary before chap. 
we enter on the remarkable administration which was — i- — 
to form an epoch in Irish history. It has been suffi- 
cient so far to notice the general drift of the stream, 
on the surface of which individuals are seen occu- 
pied in paltry schemes to improve their own fortunes, 
not one of them as yet, however, with sufficient power 
to influence materially the policy or the fate of the 
country. The practical force in the Parliament was 
in the hands of a few families, who nominated the 
majority of the representatives. No questions had 
as yet been stirred on which the people were passion- 
ately interested ; and minor scandals had been made 
use of only as a means of embarrassing the Govern- 
ment. On the edge of a great change, we pause for 
a moment to notice a few persons, some of whom 
had made themselves felt already as troublesome, and 
were about to pass to the front of the stage ; some 
still obscure and unheard of, but meditating in the 
enthusiasm of passionate youth on Ireland's miseries, 
and dreaming of coming revolutions. 

First in rank was the Duke of Leinster, and indi- 
vidually the first in influence. The House of Kil- 
dare was the most powerful in Ireland, and the head 
of it w r as the natural leader of the Irish people. But 
the Kildares, at all periods of their history, preferred 
to rule alone or not at all. Many times the Viceroys 
had attempted to draw them into combination with 
other parties, but always without success. The Duke 
of Bedford laboured hard with the reigning Earl, but 


the Earl refused to work with the Ponsonbies. Once 
only, for a few months, he tried the office of Lord 
Justice, and had retired, leaving the field to his rivals ; 
while his ambition had been gratified, and his morti- 
fication soothed, by special distinction in the peerage. 
In 1761 he was made a marquis. In 1766 he was 
created duke, being then about fifty-six years old, the 
one duke of which Ireland could boast. He was mar- 
ried to a daughter of the Duke of Richmond, and 
was the father of seventeen children, one of whom, 
born in 1763, and thus three years old when Lord 
Townshend came to Dublin, became known to the 
world thirty-five years later as Lord Edward Fitz- 

Lord Shannon's father, the reader will remember 
as Henry Boyle, Speaker of the House of Commons, 
who, after heading the opposition to the Government, 
sold his patriotism for an earldom and a pension. 
His son Richard, who succeeded to the title in 1764, 
was a politician of his father's school, under forty, 
with his life still before him, married to Speaker 
Ponsonby's daughter, and aiming steadily with the 
Ponsonby alliance at controlling the Castle, and dis- 
pensing the patronage of ministers. He had enormous 
wealth, and in private made an honourable nse of it. 
Arthur Young, who visited him at Castle Martyr in 
1771, speaks with unusual enthusiasm of his merit 
as an Irish landlord. 

Next in consequence to Lord Shannon was the 
Speaker, the Right Honourable John Ponsonby, 
second brother of the Earl of Bessborough. The 
Duke of Devonshire had been twice Viceroy— in 
17o7 and 1743. Lord Hartington was Viceroy in 
1755. The long presence of the Cavendish family 



at the Castle was favourable to the Ponsonby for- chap. 

tunes. Lord Bessborough married one of the duke's ^ ^ — - 

daughters, and was Lord Justice in 1756. John 
Ponsonby married another, became Speaker when 
Boyle was raised to the peerage, and was made Lord 
Justice also. The links of the family compact are 
easily visible. The virtual sovereigns of Ireland 
threatened to become hereditary. From this John 
Ponsonby came George, afterwards friend of his 
country and Lord Chancellor, who was now a boy of 

Of the House of Commons' orators who had made 
names must be mentioned — 

1. Mr. Hely Hutchinson, a barrister of large 
practice, who had risen in his profession through a 
seat in Parliament, and had become known as a 
patriot orator. Speaking and voting against Govern- 
ment, less on principle than as the surest road to 
advancement, on the appropriation of the surplus, the 
Pension and the Septennial Bills, Mr. Hutchinson 
had shown that he could be dangerous. In practical 
business he had made himself really useful, so far as 
was compatible with attention to himself. 

2. Mr. Sexton Pery, a lawyer also, and the son 
of a Limerick clergyman, represented his native city. 
He, too, was a patriot, and had earned impatient 
notice in the letters of Viceroys and Secretaries. 
He had been tempted with the Solicitor-Generalship, 
and had refused it. It was assumed that, like others, 
he was purchasable, but the Government had not yet 
discovered at what price he could be secured. 

3. A third barrister, remarkable in himself, and 
remarkable as the father of a more celebrated son, 
was John Fitzgibbon. He, like Pery, came from 



book Limerick, but from the cabin of a Catholic peasant. 

_ N 1— * The Fitzgibbons were of Norman blood, once wealthy 
and powerful, but now reduced by forfeitures, and 
there remained of them only a few families, renting 
their few acres of potato garden on the estates of 
their ancestors. Young John, in defiance of the law, 
had been sent to Paris to be educated, and was 
intended for a priest. He had no taste for the priestly 
calling. The Catholic religion itself became incredible 
to him. He went to London, found means of study- 
ing law, and brought himself into notice, while still 
keeping his terms, by publishing a volume of Reports. 
Admitted to the Irish bar, he rose early into prac- 
tice, realized a considerable fortune, and bought a 
large estate at Mountshannon, in his native county. 
He sat in Parliament for Newcastle, in the county 
of Dublin, and he stood almost alone in desiring 
nothing which Castle favour could give, aspiring to 
no rank, and content with the wealth which he had 
earned. To a Government which had aimed at ruling 
Ireland by honest methods, the elder Fitzgibbon 
would have been an invaluable servant; to the Hali- 
faxes and Northumberlands, though he never stooped 
to factious opposition, he was an object of suspicion 
and dislike. John Fitzgibbon the younger, who grew 
to be Chancellor and Earl of Clare, was born in 1748, 
and was now gaining his early laurels at Trinity 

Noticeable, however, beyond all his contempo- 
raries, already prominent in the House of Commons, 
already concentrating in himself the passionate hopes 
of all young generous-minded Irishmen, was the cele- 
brated Henry Flood. Like the younger Fitzgibbon, 
Flood was born into a position which secured him from 



the temptation of making politics a trade. His father, chap. 

Warden Flood, was Chief Justice of the King's Bench, r — 

and as Attorney-General had amassed considerable 
property. Henry, the eldest son, was born in 1732. 
He passed without particular distinction through 
the Irish University. From Dublin he went as a 
gentleman commoner to Oxford, where he became 
noted rather as an ornamental youth of letters than 
as an aspirant for University honours. Irish genius 
runs naturally to words. Henry Flood was a student 
of Demosthenes, and his special ambition was to be 
an orator. His enslaved and unhappy country weighed 
upon his spirits. She was in bondage ; the chains 
cramped her limbs, and therefore she was miserable. 
She pined for liberty, and liberty, as Flood understood 
it, 4 was the child of eloquence.' Not by hard atten- 
tion to the facts of life ; not by submission to the in- 
flexible laws which must be obeyed before they will 
be our servants; not by patient undoing the triple 
stranded cord of idleness, extravagance, and anarchy, 
in which the object of his affection was truly held in 
servitude ; not by these, but on the short bright road 
of bounding oratory lay Ireland's path towards re- 
demption. Let parliamentary eloquence breathe into 
the souls of her people, and the foul enchantment 
would disappear, and Ireland would rise up in her 
native loveliness. With these ideas in him, and with 
an estate of 5,000/. a year to fall to him on his father's 
death, Henry Flood, being then twenty-seven years 
old, entered Parliament as member for Kilkenny in 
1759. He was re-elected on the King's death for the 
same county, and, with a handsome figure, a rich 
sonorous voice, and a mind stored with the phrases 
which millions of young Irish hearts were then 

VOL. II. e 



BOOK prepared to accept as the Open Sesame of Paradise, 

, he hecame at once the idol of Irish patriotism, catching 

the torch which was dropping from the failing hand 
of Charles Lucas, and eclipsing alike the waning 
brilliancy of Anthony Malone and the meridian 
splendour of Hely Hutchinson. 

Other eminent persons will be heard of in front 
places on the stage of Irish politics. For special 
reasons, those which have been mentioned must par- 
ticularly be borne in mind ; and there must be added 
to the list the name of another young man, then 
the rival of John Fitzgibbon at Trinity College — as 
he was his rival afterwards on the broader platform 
of life. Grattan has been beatified by tradition as 
the saviour of his country. In his own land his 
memory is adored. His glittering declamations are 
studied as models of oratory wherever the English 
language is spoken. Fitzgibbon is the object of a 
no less intense national execration. He was followed 
to his grave with curses, and dead cats were flung 
upon his coffin. If undaunted courage, if the power 
to recognize and the will to act upon unpalatable 
truths, if the steady preference of fact to falsehood, if 
a resolution to oppose at all hazards those wild illu- 
sions which have lain at all times at the root of Ire- 
land's unhappiness, be the constituents of greatness 
in an Irish statesman, Grattan and Fitzgibbon are 
likely hereafter to change places in the final estimate 
of history. 

Grattan was the elder by two years. His father 
also was in Parliament. He was Recorder of Dublin 
and member for the city. John Fitzgibbon was born 
in 1748, Henry Grattan in 1746. They were at school 
together, and afterwards at college, where both carried 



off the highest prizes. From Trinity they went to chap. 

London, to study law at the Temple, but here their - £ 

paths divided. Grattan was left fatherless when he 
was under nineteen. He inherited little property, and 
had his own fortune to make for himself ; but he dis- 
liked the bar, and remained for some time uncertain 
what career he should adopt. Fitzgibbon was heir 
to a large estate; but he threw himself earnestly into 
his profession, and long before the Counsellor died 
was in the first flight of Irish lawyers. 

The parliamentary life of these two young men 
had yet to besdn. Let it be understood that their 
manhood was maturing and their minds were form- 
ing in the scenes about to be described. 






BOOK George, third Viscount Townshend, was selected as 
V Viceroy of Ireland in the summer of 1767, under the 

l767, last administration of Lord Chatham, having just 
succeeded to the title by his father's death. His 
career in the army had been creditable, if not par- 
ticularly brilliant. He was with Wolfe on the 
heights of Abraham, and General Monckton, the 
second in command, having been carried off wounded 
early in the action, Townshend, when Wolfe fell, 
became superior officer, and signed the capitulation of 
Quebec. 1 His brother Charles died immediately after 
his nomination, and in the first sorrow for the loss of 
father and brother he entered upon his intricate office. 
In appearance the new Viceroy was a bon vivant; in 
his manners easy ; in his conversation humorous, and 
seemingly frank and transparent. He was as ready 
with a proverb as Sancho Panza, 2 and let fall, it was 

1 The popular leaders in Ireland See Baratariana, p. 94. 
charged Townshend with having 2 This peculiarity was the occa- 

cheated Monckton of his laurels, sion of the name Barataria being 

and stolen an honour to which he given to Ireland in the squibs and 

had no claim. History, in the essays published by Flood and his 

hands of Irish writers, has often a friends, 
tendency to become mythological. 



said, in half an hour, and as it were by accident, more chap. 

good things than could be heard in a session even of IL ... 

the Irish Parliament, where wit was never wanting. liiu ' 
Besides these qualities he had others undiscovered by 
the patriots whose object he defeated. He displays in 
his letters an unusually noble disposition, a contempt 
approaching to loathing for the measures to which he 
was compelled to stoop, and for the men whom he 
was obliged to conciliate by the necessities of Par- 
liamentary Government. The King adhered to the 
views expressed in his instructions to Hertford, and 
Townshend had come with a loyal intention to put 
an end, as far as possible, to Irish jobbery and Irish 
anarchy. Pitt's Government had resolved in sincerity 
to have done with pensions, sinecure offices, and 
bribery. The promise which Halifax had allowed 
Northumberland to give dishonestly, Townshend was 
really to act upon. The Irish politicians were to 
have an opportunity of showing whether their com- 
plaints had been sincere, whether they were prepared 
to co-operate loyally and without the need of under- 
hand influence in measures of genuine reform. 

The first necessity was to protect the public peace. 
The Whiteboys were scarcely quieted in the south : 
when the gentry relaxed their efforts, disturbances 
would inevitably recommence. Landlord exactions had 
provoked a convulsion, presently to be described, in 
Ulster, with which the magistrates were no less unable 
to cope. It had been determined, if Parliament would 
consent, to add three thousand men to the ordinary 
garrison to do the work of police. Again, the Irish 
judges, like the judges in the colonies, hadhitherto held 
office during pleasure. English ministers had been 
peculiarly tenacious of the power to remove them 



B< k IB at will. Townshend had come prepared to assimilate 

* their tenure to that of their brethren on the English 

bench once more. The Irish Parliament had played 
fast and loose with the Septennial Bill, and in their 
hearts desired it should never more be heard of. The 
Cabinet had concluded that it was a measure which 
ought to be passed. Lord Hertford, before taking 
leave, had said that he should recommend the change, 
iiiul the new Viceroy had brought full powers to give 
it Government support. Here were three consider- 
able reforms, the iirst of supreme importance, which 
the Irish patriots, if they were really anxious for 
their country's good, had an opportunity of securing 
with the full assent of England. There had been a 
difference of opinion about the latter, or at least how 
far the Government should take the initiative in pro- 
posing them. Townshend met Parliament with 
the impression that he had been instructed to com- 
mend the alteration of the judges' tenure to immediate 

The session began on the 20th of October. The 
speech from the throne was brief, but it contained 
a distinct mention of this particular point, and it 
promised generally and significantly that the King 
would consent to any other measures which might 
promote the welfare and prosperity of the country. 

Chatham was too ill to attend to business, and 
even when the intention was good, Irish affairs were 
carelessly regarded by the rest of the Cabinet. Lord 
Shelburne considered that the subject had been 
opened too abruptly; he would have preferred that 
the Viceroy should have felt his way more cautiously ; 
and he intimated, perhaps by an error of the pen, 
that the intention was to appoint the Irish judges, 
not during good behaviour as in England, but for 



life. 1 The Septennial Bill, if introduced at all, was to chap. 

be made octennial. . 

Townshend warmly defended himself. In what he 1767, 
had said about the judges, he maintained that he had 
rather fallen short of his instructions than exceeded 
them ; and as to a life tenure, places held for life were 
openly bought and sold in Ireland. He regretted, 
not, as will be seen, without reason, that he had been 
unable to mention the Septennial Bill, but he was pre- 
pared to encourage it in its new form with all his 

The Irish politicians were perplexed to know how 
to behave in their new situation. They had discovered 
that there were to be no more sinecures and pensions, 
and they had something real to complain of in the 
manner in which the lucrative offices of state had been 
hitherto disposed of out of the country. Their best 
preferments, treasurerships, vice-treasurerships, com- 
missionerships, were conferred by prime ministers 
upon their supporters in England,, who took the 
salaries and left the duties to be discharged by 
deputy, 2 and of high patronage there was little left for 
them to expect. They had discovered that the point on 
which the King was most anxious was the augmenta- 
tion of the army. 1 Mankind,' reported the Viceroy, 

1 ' We are all astonished to find of seven, to avoid the confusion of 
mention in your speech of your a general election in both king- 
having it in charge from his ma- doms the same year. Shelburne to 
jesty to recommend a provision to Townshend, October 29 — Novem- 
secure the judges in their offices ber 5.' S. P. 0. 
during good behaviour. We ap- 2 At this time the Lord Trea- 
proved the measure, but advised you surer of Ireland was the Duke of 
to use general words. You were Devonshire ; Pigby and Welbore 
instructed to talk confidentially Ellis were Vice-Treasurers ; Wil- 
of the determination of Government liam Gerard Hamilton was Chan- 
to support the Septennial Bill, and cellor of the Exchequer ; Pigby — 
the judges for life. . . We must have fortunate man ! — was also Irish 
the bill for limiting the duration of Master of the Rolls. 
Parliaments for eight years, instead 



BOOK 'judge pretty well how to time their requests.' If mem- 
v _ bers were not to be pensioned, if sinecures were to be 
17,;; abolished, and if their only prizes were to be bestowed 
in England, something or other must be found to 
make it worth their while to meet the King's wishes. 
They found difficulties. They discovered wrongs, 
real or imaginary. The tenure of judges had been a 
foremost grievance so long as the change was refused. 
Now that their wish was complied with, it was treated 
as of no consequence. They themselves detested the 
Septennial Bill ; but when the speech was silent upon 
it, they discovered that England was purposely 
thwarting an important reform. 1 The Chancellorship 
was vacant. Lord Bowes had been three months dead. 
The Cabinet was pausing over his successor. The 
Irish lawyers had a well-founded suspicion that the 
most brilliant prize of their profession was again to be 
given to a stranger. 

The Viceroy knew what they meant, and did not 
expect them to be angels. ' As so large a share,' he 
wrote to Shelburrie, 4 of the principal offices and 
emoluments have not been disposed of in this country, 
your lordship may think it probable I should hear of 
these circumstances when the Crown has an object 
in view. It may prove expedient, when men of 
first-rate abilities are forming expectations, that I 
should transmit their wishes.' 2 

Townshend had brought with him the feelings of 
an Englishman who did not yet understand the 
country. He had supposed the Irish Parliament had 
been sincere in their complaint of the Pension List. 
Their objection had been only to the disposition of a 

1 Baratariana, page 17. vember 15. Secret and separate.' 

a 1 Townshend to Sbelburne, No- S. P. 0. 

lord towxshend's administration. 


fund, which they would have preferred to share among chap. 
themselves, in favour of royal bastards, mistresses, and • — ^ — 
favourites. They were about to open his eyes with 
some rudeness to their real views. He was in the 
act of recommending the claims of their leaders to 
Shelburne's consideration when Philip Tisdall, the 
Attorney-General, came into his room and abruptly 
told him 4 that besides an address on the vacancy of the 
Great Seal which would probably be carried, a motion 
would be made in the House of Commons, which could 
not be resisted, for a short Supply Bill.' Here was 
a reception for a Viceroy who had come to end cor- 
ruption and malpractices ! He called a meeting of 
the council. The Lords Justices, the Earl of Shannon, 
and the Speaker, with the most perfect coolness, con- 
firmed Tisdalfs words. 4 The discontent was so 
great,' they said, 4 that it was impossible to stem the 
torrent.' The Commons 'considered the refusal of the 
Money Bill to be the only certain method of obtain- 
ing those popular bills which had been so often 
demanded and so constantly refused.' 

The ground of action was more singular than the 
action itself. The Judges' Tenure Bill had been spon- 
taneously offered. The Septennial Bill had been 
rather approved than disapproved. It had been post- 
poned hitherto at the desire of the men who in Parlia- 
ment had affected to demand it. They had but to ask 
now to have their wishes immediately gratified, and yet 
Malone, who was out of office, was the only member 
of council who would say that he thought the pass- 
ing of a short Supply Bill would be an improper 

4 I cannot express my surprise.' Townshend said 
in reporting the scene, * at finding myself in the 




BOOB midst of the King's servants, and hearing a question 
^ , of this sort treated by a part of them in this manner, 

I7,;; - and a day pressed for the consideration of a measure 
which ought to have been rejected with indignation.' 1 
The real meaning of the opposition was of course 
evident. A Chancellor had been already chosen, an 
Englishman as the Irish anticipated, and the Cabinet 
did not intend to reverse their selection. Hewett, 
one of the judges of the Court of King's Bench, was 
coming over with the title of Lord LhTord. 4 His 
known attachment to Revolution principles, great 
knowledge, and unspotted integrity,' were considered 
his sufficient recommendation. Lord Shelburne replied 
to Townshend's unpleasant news that the King could 
not but feel 4 amazement at such extraordinary be- 
haviour when he had meant so well.' 4 A short Money 
Bill struck at the very being of Government.' ' The 
effect could only be the rejection of the Bills which 
were the pretended object.' 4 The public,' Shelburne 
hoped, 'would soon see through the flimsy pretext of the 
contrivers and punish them as they deserved.' 4 Alto- 
gether it was one of the meanest stratagems which 
low cunning, narrow parts, and interested motives, 
could suggest to any set of men in public affairs.' If 
the Parliament was to continue, however, the hungry 
expectants must be fed in some way. 4 The King,' 
Shelburne said, ' did not think proper to recede from 
his resolution with regard to places, pensions, and 
reversions. Yet his majesty would consider such other 
just marks of his countenance and protection as at 
the end of the session mi^ht be recommended.' There 
were still peerages, inferior commissionerships, and 

1 1 Townshend to Shelburne, November 15. Secret and separate.' 
S. P. 0. 



professional offices of various kinds for those who chap. 
would support the Government against faction. 1 w 

The Shannon- Ponsonby party in the Council had 17(j7, 
exhibited their strength ; and were satisfied for the 
moment with having shown that if Ireland was to be 
reformed it was not to be at their expense. The oppo- 
sition to the Money Bill was withdrawn. An adverse 
motion by Flood on the appointment of Lord LifFord 
was rejected by a large majority; and the heads of a 
Septennial or Octennial Bill were passed for transmis- 
sion to England. This time they were carried to the 
Castle by the Speaker in the usual form, with the entire 
House in attendance. An Absentee Tax was revived in 
the Money Bill — a tax of four shillings in the pound 
on all pensions, salaries, and profits of employments 
payable to persons not resident in Ireland. Imposed 
originally under George the First, it had been accom- 
panied with a power to the Crown to grant exemp- 
tions under the sign-manual. The exemptions had 
been so numerous that the results had proved c very 
inconsiderable.' 1 The tax bore hard on individuals 
who most wanted favour, and had not interest to 
procure it,' and had been allowed to fall through. It 
was now replaced without the reservation ; the only 
exceptions permitted being in the case of pensions to 
the royal family, or to officers who had specially dis- 
tinguished themselves. To a proposal so definitely 
just, Townshend offered no opposition, and in private 
gave it his full approval. The heads of the Judges' 
Tenure Bill were passed also, but international jea- 
lousy on both sides interfered with its success. It had 
been drawn on the English precedent, and contained 

1 < Shelburne to Townshend, November 24, 1767. Secret.' S. P. 0. 



book a clause for the possible removal of the Judges of 
, Ireland 1 on the representation of the Privy Council 

17 { ' 7 ' and the Houses of Lords and Commons.' What did 
Lords and Commons mean ? The Irish Parliament 
claimed the power of removal to themselves ex- 
clusively. The Council, who could alter bills 
before transmission, was induced with difficulty to 
allow joint authority to the Lords and Commons 
of England. Townshend, perhaps under instructions 
from Shelburne, who was still resenting the short 
Money Hill, desired to secure a separate power over the 
judges to the English Parliament, whether the Irish 
Parliament consented or refused. The Council begged 
him not to insist on an alteration which would be 
fatal to the measure, and the bill was allowed to 
go as the Council left it. Had the Irish Par- 
liament behaved decently at the beginning of the 
session, they could have drawn the heads in their 
own form, and no difficulty would have been made. 
As matters stood, there was a probability that the 
heads of the bill might not be returned to them. 1 

The usual pause now followed. Heads of bills 
were discussed in the autumn, sent to England to be 
considered and revised, and on their return, at the 
beginning of the year, were re-debated, and either 
passed or rejected. The ' servants of the Crown ' 
took advantage of the recess to clear up their rela- 
tions with the Viceroy. They had taught him, as 
they supposed, that he could not govern without 
them. They desired to make him finally understand the 
terms on which he might calculate on their support. 
Lord Shannon, the Speaker, and Mr. Hely Hutchin- 

1 1 Townshend to Shelburne, December 28, 1767. Secret and con- 



son requested a private interview, and defined their chap. 

expectations. Ignorant that the powers of the Lords . ^ - 

Justices were henceforth to be no more real than they 1 ' r>7, 
had become in England, Ponsonby and his son-in-law 
demanded to have their offices continued to them. 
Hely Hutchinson was for himself unambitious: he was 
Prime Sergeant ; he had a lucrative practice, and a pri- 
vate fortune independent of it; he asked for some pro- 
vision for his two sons, 1 either by place or pension, 
and 4 his wife, at the end of the session, to be created 
a viscountess.' On these terms, and not otherwise, 
these distinguished persons were prepared to carry 
Townshend through his parliamentary difficulties, 
and to defend the supremely important measure which, 
in the critical temper of the House of Commons, had 
not yet been brought forward — the augmentation of 
the army. 

Ponsonby and Shannon together commanded a 
majority in the House. Hely Hutchinson, the Vice- 
roy said, 6 was the most powerful man in Parliament, 
of great abilities to conduct a debate.' 2 Whether a 
bargain thus unblushingly offered was to be submitted 
to, he referred to the consideration of the King. 

The negotiation could not wholly be kept secret. 
It was whispered in the political circles of Dublin. 
The apostacy of the triumvirate would for a time 
destroy the party who called themselves the defenders 
of their country ; and Henry Flood and his friends, 
who as yet lay outside the lines of promotion, and 
were fired with patriotic indignation, commenced a 

1 Richard, then eleven years old, mand of the army in Egypt, 

created afterwards Earl of Do- 2 ' Townshend to Shelburne, De- 

noughmore ; and Henry, a year cember 2, 1767. Secret and sepa- 

younger, who, as Lord Hutchin- rate.' 
son, succeeded Abercrombie in com- 


series of letters in the Dublin journals, in which Ire- 
land appears as Barataria, Townshend as Sancho, and 
the various members of the Council as officers of his 
household. Of Ponsonby they had evidently good 
hopes. He was applauded for his past virtues, but 
made to understand that he was on his trial before 
the country. The Prime Sergeant Rufinus was re- 
garded with deep, and, it must be allowed, deserved 
suspicion. 1 

When the mysteries of parliamentary government 
are hereafter revealed, it will be known how far such 
overtures form a sample of the methods in which in 
other countries besides Ireland free institutions can 
be made to work. Shelburne expressed less sur- 
prise than disgust. He complained of the Absentee 
tax, but let it pass. The Judges' Tenure Bill was 
rejected. The chance had been thrown away. The 
augmentation of the army was the essential thing. 
4 The internal state of Ireland ' made an increase of 
force absolutely necessary ; yet it was unendurable 
to submit to dictation — dictation so gross and un- 
principled. 4 We cannot recommend the King/ Shel- 
burne said, 1 to grant places and pensions for life or 
years. The leading persons in Ireland must act as 
they can answer to their consciences and as representa- 
tives of their country. The King will certainly, at the 
end of the session, take into consideration the merits of 
those who shall have exerted themselves for the sup- 
port of his Government and the good of Ireland. 
Nor can the conduct of those who shall have acted from 
motives of a less honourable nature escape his 
majesty's notice.' 2 

1 Baratariana, letters 1, 2, 3. 

2 ' Shelburne to Townshend, December, 1767.' 



Townshend wholly agreed as to the duty of 1 the cum 
leading persons of Ireland.' The increase of the « — ^ — 
army was required to keep the peace, and prevent 17 
murder and rape, and cattle-houghing. The lords and 
gentlemen might have been expected to further it for 
their own sakes. 4 But being on the spot,' Townshend 
said, 4 and seeing the general disposition of the House 
of Commons in its true light, I cannot be so sanguine 
as to hope that these sentiments are sufficient grounds 
on which a measure of this sort is to be brought into 
Parliament, and carried through with success. I 
know his majesty did not mean to grant more pen- 
sions, nor could I give them hopes, though I could 
not help listening to their proposals. But when I 
observed how very weak this Government had become, 
I thought it my duty to submit the matter again to 
his majesty, being convinced that until the system of 
government here can be totally changed, and the true 
weight and interest of the Crown brought back to 
its former channel, there must be some relaxation of 
this rule. I am sorry, therefore, you feel yourself 
precluded from recommending anything of this sort 
to his majesty. I am afraid strict adherence to the 
rule will at this time be a great prejudice to his 
majesty's service.' 1 

The applicants for corruption received their answer. 1768. 
They enquired whether the augmentation was to be 
pressed. They were informed that it would be 
pressed. Hutchinson, speaking for the others, de- 
clared coolly that Shannon and Ponsonby would 
oppose, that without them it could not be carried, and 
that every art would be used to prejudice the people 

1 ' Townshend to Shelburne, January 3, 1768. Secret.' 


booK against a measure which would be represented as a 
— ^ — * conspiracy against their liberties. Even yet unable 

1 3 68, to realize the character of Irish politicians, the Viceroy 
appealed to the Privy Council, and in the most serious 
lan<niasre entreated them to remember their obliga- 
tions. Ponsonby answered ambiguously. Hutchin- 
son and the Attorney-General 1 showed that nothing 
better was to be expected of them. On the re-assem- 
blage of the Houses, a hostile motion was introduced 
by Pery for a committee to enquire into the state of 
the army, and was allowed to pass unresisted. The 
Viceroy remonstrated again with Lord Shannon. 
Lord Shannon let him see that the proposed con- 
ditions must be conceded. 4 You will see,' Towns- 
hend wrote, 'that those who offered to assist 
under such terms as upon due consideration were 
rejected, have gone into determined opposition to the 
King's Government itself. What shall I do ? Shall 
I apply to those who are generally in opposition, 
and are called the independent gentry of this coun- 
try ? Shall I prorogue ? I doubt whether any 
other course will prevent things from being carried 
to lengths that we shall not hereafter be able to 
remedy.' 2 

The situation was too intricate to be decided from 
England. The true answer should have been the 
dismissal of a body in whom patriotic feeling was 
smothered in self-interest, and the restoration of 
order and security by a stringent police. It was an 
answer, however, which England, with her iniquitous 
trade laws, her scandalous misappropriation of Irish 
offices, her long contemptuous neglect of every duty 

1 Tisdall. 2 ' Townshend to Shelburne, January 26. Secret.' 


which a ruling country owed to an annexed depen- 
dency, was in no condition to give. Shelburne left 
Townshend to his own judgment, merely saying, 
that neither the King nor the Cabinet ' had any pre- 
dilection for any man or set of men, having nothing 
else in view than to conduct the King's affairs 
honourably and safely. If the business could be 
carried on by the men at present in office, they would 
prefer that there should be no change. If the King's 
servants refused to give solid support, the Viceroy 
might send for the independent gentlemen. If the 
House of Commons persisted in passing offensive 
measures, the Cabinet were unanimously of opinion 
that he should prorogue.' 1 

Meantime the Septennial Bill returned, changed 
only to Octennial, for the reasons given before by Lord 
Shelburne. The agitators, though they knew that 
the Bill was coming back to them, had professed to 
believe that it would be again rejected. A motion 
had been proposed, which Flood noisily supported, 
that he, with Lucas and William Ponsonby, 2 should 
cross to England and demand it at the Council doors. 
Hutchinson, to clear himself of suspicion of want of 
patriotism, had spoken violently against the augmen- 
tation of the army, and had proposed an Irish militia 
instead. Others, with characteristic impudence, re- 
newed their clamours against the Pension List. The 
appearance of the Octennial Bill for the moment 
shamed these passionate gentlemen into something 
like silence. The Viceroy had taken advantage 
quietly of the feud between the Fitzgeralds and the 
Ponsonbies to pay court to the Duke of Leinster. 

1 ' Shelburne to Townshend, February 10, 1768.' 

2 The Speaker's eldest son. 



book The duke came to his support, and carried with him 
! many of the country gentlemen. 1 The threatened 

l768, committee of enquiry was dropped. The House 
voted an address of thanks for the Octennial Bill ; 
and if the army question could be got over, the ses- 
sion, after all, might come to a quiet end. 

The passing of the Octennial Bill would be followed 
immediately by a general election. Suspicions had 
been deliberately excited among the people that the 
Government had sinister intentions in desiring to add 
to the troops ; and Townshend's best friends advised 
him to postpone so critical a subject as the augmen- 
tation of the army to another session. Townshend 
himself was strongly of the same opinion. He sent 
his secretary, Lord Frederick Campbell, to London, 
to endeavour to persuade the Cabinet. As a matter 
of party management, he was probably right. But 
the shameful anarchy which ruled undisturbed in 
so many parts of the country had shocked the King 
too deeply to allow him to listen. Come what would, 
there should be an end to murder and brigandage. 
Shelburne ordered Townshend to persevere at all 
risks, and to assure the independent members that 
their services should be remembered, if they stood 
by him in beating down an opposition which was the 

1 ' Townshend to Shelburne, Feb- 
ruary 16.' A curious fear had been 
expressed by the independent mem- 
bers 4 that if they voted for the Army 
Bill, ' the weight of the Crown 
would be exerted against them 
hereafter by those whose designs 
they would now defeat by the sup- 
port of the Government.' They 
feared, that is, that Lord Shannon 
and the Speaker would continue 
Lords Justices when Townshend 

went back to England, and they 
would be left at their mercy. It 
was the same complaint, in another 
form, which the loyal gentlemen of 
the Pale used to make to the mi- 
nisters of Henry VIIL If they sup- 
ported an English Viceroy against 
the Irish clans, the Government, 
sooner or later, would tire of its 
efforts, and leave them to be de- 
stroyed by the Geraldiues. 


more abominable from the affectation of patriotism chap. 
in which it was disguised. 1 >_ ^1— 

Townshend by this time understood Ireland. He 1768, 
complied, but he guessed what would follow. On 
the 1 9th of April a message was sent to the Commons 
in the name of the Crown, that three thousand ad- 
ditional soldiers were required for the defence of the 
country ; the Absentee Tax would suffice to meet the 
expense, and no fresh burden would be thrown upon 
the people ; his majesty, therefore, confidently relied 
on the willing consent of the Irish legislature. The 
oligarchy had committed themselves too deeply to 
retract. If they yielded, their power was at an end. 
The usual cries were raised of Ireland's liberty being 
in danger. Shannon, Ponsonby, Tisdall, Hutchinson, 
in public and private, by themselves and their friends, 
played on the childish passions of the Irish people. 
In a full House, on the motion of the brilliant en- 
thusiast, who aspired to be Ireland's champion, Mr. 
Flood, the Government was defeated. 

The struggle was for life and death. England was 
too apt to forget her Irish friends, especially when 
their efforts were unsuccessful. Townshend thought 
it necessary to remind the Cabinet immediately that 
they must keep their promises to those who had stood 
by him, and who would otherwise be sacrificed to the 
resentment of the coalition. He considered for a 
week before he could decide on the course which it 
would now be desirable to follow. 

' When the King,' he wrote at length to Shelburne, 
■ comes to reflect on certain passages in my letters to 
your lordship, his majesty can be no stranger to the 

1 < Shelburne to Townshend, March 14.' S. P. 0. 



book scandalous causes of the late miscarriage. It was 
_ v - . clearly made out that so far from any additional vote 
,7 ' N - of credit being needed, the money already voted 
would be sufficient till Parliament should meet again 
to answer the whole expense of the estimates. . . . You 
must now be convinced on what grounds many of 
the leading interests of this kingdom have hitherto 
undertaken to carry on his majesty's affairs; and why, 
when difficulties have arisen, or have been artificially 
created, Government has generally been defeated by its 
own strength. . . . The most effectual means to restore 
vigour to the Government would be to keep Ireland 
under the constant attention of a resident governor 
in whose hands should be placed the absolute disposal 
of the several offices of revenue. The commissioners 
exercise great weight over the officers under them, 
for whose conduct on this occasion I cannot otherwise 
account. As this will operate but slowly, however, I 
should wish to know whether, in the different branches 
of his majesty's service, some persons ought not to be 
immediately marked as particular objects of dis- 
pleasure. Many distinguished persons have supported 
us through the session without hinting at any consi- 
deration: though their judgment was against pressing 
the Augmentation Bill, they yet hazarded their 
elections in supporting it. I am not without hope 
that when it shall be observed that his majesty's 
disapprobation is strongly shown to the principal 
opposers of so salutary a measure, the tide of popular 
resentment will turn against those who have en- 
deavoured to direct it against Government.' 1 

The country was already preparing for a general 

1 1 Townshend to Shelburne, May 10 ; 1768. 




election. - Every county and borough was a scene of chap 
dissipation and animosity.' Candidates were flying 
to and fro, bribing, treating, and spouting patriotism 
and Ireland's rights. French-Irish priests, officers of 
the Irish Brigade, apostles of anarchy of all sorts were 
scenting the approaching battle, coming over in dis- 
guise, and ' feeling the pulses of the community.' On 
all grounds it was desirable to shorten the dangerous 
period. 1 The Viceroy demanded and obtained per- 
mission to bring it to an immediate end. The bills 
already passed through committee received the royal 
assent. Parliament was dissolved, and writs were 
instantly issued for a new election. Five serviceable 
members of the late House were recommended for 
peerages and obtained them. 2 Lord Kingston received 
an earldom, the Viceroy insisting that striking evi- 
dence of this kind was necessary to show that the 
King meant to proportion his rewards to public desert. 
The Doneraile title was extinct. Two collateral St. 
Legers were applying for it, both of whom were 
likely to be elected members of the House of Com- 
mons. They were put on their good behaviour for 
the next session: whichever of them served the 
Government best should receive the prize. 

' This is now the crisis of Irish Government, 1 wrote 
Townshend. 4 If a system is at this time wisely 
formed and steadily pursued, his majesty's affairs may 
hereafter be carried on with ease, dignity, and safety ; 
but if only a few changes are made here and there, 
and this particular man is to be raised and another 

1 ' Townshend to Shelburne, May ton; Abraham CrichtonLord Erne; 
17, 1768.' John Eyre, of Eyre Court, Lord 

2 Thomas Dawson was created Eyre ; and Mr. Corby, of Strad- 
Lord Dartry ; W. H. Dawson, of bally, Lord Corby. 
Queen's County, Lord Portaiiing- 



book depressed, probably to be restored again in a few 
v - , months, as in 1755, 1 with double powers and weight, 

17(l8 - it will only add fuel to the fire, and at last bring the 
King's authority in Ireland, low as it is, into still 
greater contempt. If the plan which I have proposed 
shall be adopted, and the King and his servants have 
that confidence in me as to think I am a fit person to 
carry it into execution, his majesty will, I hope, allow 
me by degrees and on proper occasions to submit to 
him such changes as shall appear to me necessary.' 2 

1 When Lord Shannon got his peerage. 

2 ' Townshend to Shelburne, May 31, 1768.' 




Notwithstanding the dissoluteness of the Dublin chap. 
workmen, the factiousness of the patriots, and the * — — 
social disorders which had assumed so menacing an 7 y * 
appearance, the material prosperity of Ireland had for 
twenty years been slowly increasing. The Peace of 
Aix la Chapelle was the turning point at which, in 
parts at least of the island, the people began to lay 
aside their dreams and turn to industry. Even the 
Whiteboy movement, caused as it had been by the 
increase of cattle and the rise of rents, was a result 
and symptom of the upward tendency. The linen 
manufacture was growing in Ulster. Intelligent 
country gentlemen were building houses, planting, 
draining, and raising green crops. Arthur Young, 
who travelled through the country in 1771, found 
universally the term of twenty years defined as that at 
which the upward movement had commenced which was 
still in progress. The year which followed the disso- 
lution of 1768 was the most productive which had 
been known for a century ; and had the state of public 
opinion permitted England to recognise that a Par- 
liament was at all times a curse to Ireland and not a 
blessing ; could she have perceived at the same time, 
without waiting to be taught by calamity, the folly 
and iniquity of her trade laws, the permanent re- 
generation of Ireland might have dated from that 

It was not to be. A new Parliament was elected, 
but it was not called together before the usual period, 



book in the autumn of the following year. The Viceroy 
N lw used the interval to impress the lesson which he 

17r i - desired Irish politicians to lay to heart. He hoped, 
though he was far from sanguine, that by straight- 
forward open measures, by the suppression of jobs, 
by honest administration on the principles which had 
been laid down by the King, he might find sufficient 
backing when the legislature reassembled to carry on 
the business of the state without reverting to the old 
methods. For a vigorous policy, however, he required 
the assistance of the Home Government, and the Home 
Government, as usual, wavered. 4 You are to have 
all the support/ Lord Weymouth wrote to him in the 
summer of 1769, 4 that your known zeal entitles you 
to, and your own ideas shall be adopted as to the 
mode of that support, if there is a moral certainty 
that you will be successful in procuring a majority. 
Your sketches of the principal characters in this 
country are drawn with too much coolness and im- 
partiality, and with too genuine an air of truth, to 
permit us to doubt their correctness. His majesty 
arms you with full powers to act as you shall think 
desirable. ' 1 

The Viceroy's ' ideas ' had been to make a clean 
sweep of the dishonest members of the Council, and 
to fill their places with others of whose conscientious- 
ness he had better expectations. To certainty of 
success he admitted frankly that he could not pretend. 
He could not confer confidentially with individual 
members ; he could not canvass for support ; he could 
only repeat his opinion, that if the disastrous habit 
of buying off opposition was fairly abandoned, and if 

1 i Weymouth to Townshend, June 9, 1769. Most secret.' 



Government was firm in showing that it would sup- chap. 

port honest men and honest measures, the Shannon • i- — 

and Ponsonby faction would be broken up. 9 " 

Had Chatham continued at the head of affairs, the 
bold course might have been adopted. But Chatham 
was gone, and without Chatham the Cabinet who 
were unwisely brave towards the American colonies, 
had no army to spare to encounter Irish faction. 
They advised half measures. The false 4 servants 
of the Crown ' were, for the present at least, to remain 
in their places. They were worthless and unprin- 
cipled ; they were fishing in troubled waters for 
their own interest ; but they might oppose the sup- 
plies if they were removed, and the Viceroy was 
directed to make one more experiment of temporizing. 
Very unwillingly he submitted, pleading only to be 
allowed to show open countenance and favour to c the 
eminent gentlemen who had supported him in his 
last trial,' if only to show his majesty's determination 
that though he was pleased to suffer his servants to 
remain, the power of the kingdom was not to return 
to its late channel. 

There had been, was, and ever would be, but one 
way of governing Ireland — by putting authority ex- 
clusively into the hands of men of personal probity 
and tried loyalty to the British connection. Untaught 
by unvarying experience, England has persisted from 
the beginning in the opposite method. She has 
sought to rule with the support of men by whom it 
has been a disgrace to be supported, to sacrifice the 
known and obvious interests of the Irish people to 
the intrigues of demagogues for whom the horsewhip 
would have been a fitter reward. From the days of 
the Earls of Kildare to the days of the modern Upas 



Bi m >E Tree she has walked in the same footsteps and always 
. to the same goal. She has encouraged the hostility 

l769, which she hoped to disarm. She has taught those 
whom she has wished to conciliate that they may 
defy and insult her with impunity. 

Townshend did not dispute his orders, but as the 
session approached he continued to repeat his opinion 
that bolder measures would answer better. 4 I know 
from the surest sources,' he wrote to Weymouth in 
August, ' that there are many gentlemen connected 
with the Speaker who are waiting only to see whether 
the English Government will or will not resume its 
authority.' 1 Late in the month he went on progress 
in Minister, and paid Lord Shannon a visit at Castle- 
martyr. Ponsonby was staying there also. They 
were coldly polite, and evidently intended mischief. 

' I assure you,' the Viceroy said, w there is nothing 
popular or formidable in these persons or their party. 
It is the power they derive from the Crown and exercise 
so fully and largely over this kingdom which subjects 
the minds of people to them. Neither Lord Shannon 
nor Mr. Ponsonby could preserve even their common 
provincial influence without their offices. The Oc- 
tennial Bill gave the first blow to the dominion of 
aristocracy in this kingdom. It rests with Govern- 
ment to second the good effects of it, and to re-establish 
its own authority by disarming those who have turned 
their arms against it. Only let us be firm and re- 
solute, and all right-minded people will come over 
to us.' 2 

It was not only to reduce the power of the aristocracy 
in Parliament that the Viceroy was anxious for vigo- 

1 1 Townshend to "Weymouth, August 18/ 

2 ' To Weymouth, September 13. Most secret and separate.' 



rous action. As Lords Justices, the Speaker and his chap. 
son-in-law had the supervision of the revenue, and it ^ l l r : — 
was calculated that by various forms of peculation as 
much as 150,000/. a year was lost to the Government 
out of the customs duties. Ponsonby had appointed 
his friends to the Customs offices from highest to lowest, 
and though never suspected of having himself conde- 
scended to fraud, it was thought possible that he had 
not endangered his political influence by too inconve- 
nient inquisitiveness. In some way or other at any 
rate large sums were unaccounted for. In this very 
summer time the Viceroy learnt that a large cargo of 
tobacco had been seen at a spot where it was delibe- 
rately 7 overlooked, and that the car^o of an East In- 
diaman, on which the duties would have been 13,000/., 
had been landed surreptitiously at Cork, and that 
no enquiry had been made. Hertford had received 
power from the King to remove all officers of all 
degrees if found unfit for their posts. These powers 
had not been renewed to Townshend. He could not 
punish the incompetent or dishonest. He could not 
reward and encourage the good. To the members of 
Parliament who had been watching how the wind 
would blow, he could give none of the assurances 
which they expected, and which he had begged so 
earnestly to be allowed to hold out. Even Lord Drog- 
heda and Lord Tyrone, who had supported him in 
the last session under promise of marquisates, had 
their ambition still ungratified, and were ' threatening 
vengeance.' 1 

Thus it was that when the time came for the new 
Parliament to meet, the impression prevailed that 
England was afraid, and that opposition would remain 

1 ' Townshend to Weymouth, October 22.' 



BOOK as before — the surest road to promotion and pa- 
— \- — * tronage. The Government had been defied, and had 
ventured a dissolution. But a dissolution had been 
inevitable, at all events. The insolent 4 servants 
of the Crown ' were still in office, and on them and 
on Irish ideas it was alone safe for those who were 
making politics their profession to rely. Even the 
Viceroy himself had been obliged to affect politeness 
to them. 4 I declined coming to extremities,' he 
sadly said, 4 because I have all along observed in 
your letters a reluctance to any measures that might 
be thought violent. Things remain, therefore, as 
they were, both as to men and measures. 11 

The session began on the 17th of October. Pon- 
sonby was re-elected Speaker without opposition. 
The speech avoided doubtful subjects, but drew at- 
tention to frauds in public departments, which Pon- 
sonby might take to himself, if he chose ; ■ to clandes- 
tine running of goods,' which 4 had been carried to 
great lengths ; 1 and to the imperfect discharge of 
their duties by the officers of the revenue. 2 

The patriots were eager to try their strength, or to 
show it in the new House. The Government must 
be informed, as speedily as possible, that they meant 
to be its masters, and to dictate their own terms. 
The question on which the Viceroy was most anxious 
was as before, of course, the augmentation of the 
army. A motion was made immediately in the com- 
mittee of supply to consider whether an increase was 
necessary, and the Government was again defeated 

1 1 To Weymouth, October 17.' writer is mistaken. The contraband 

2 Arthur Young says that in trade yielded perhaps less extrava- 
1771 smuggling had much de- gant profits, but it was never more 
clined. It is one of the few in- active, and ran in so smooth and deep 
stances in which this usually exact a stream that little was heard of it. 



by 104 to 72. The first blow was followed in- chap. 
stantly by a second. The popular leaders brought . IL _ 
up the Pension List, and examined its composition. 17Gy - 
There, it was but too true, scandalously, shamefully, 
inexcusably, stood the name of the Countess of 
Yarmouth, niece of her grace of Kendal, for 4,000/. 
a year. There stood Lord Grantham, with 2,000/. 
for his own life and his son's ; Lord Cholmondeley 
was there, whose merit was to have been Walpole's 
son-in-law, for 3,500/. ; Lord Bathurst had 2,000/. ; 
Lady Waldegrave 800/. 81,000/. in all was taken 
from the Irish revenues for these extraordinary 
personages by a virtuous Government, while honest 
national patriots were expected to shiver unre- 
warded; and the highest offices in the Irish ser- 
vice were bestowed equally on English favourites, 
who did not trouble themselves even to reside and 
do their duty. The army question came up again 
in another form. What use did the Crown make 
already of the sums voted for the defence of the 
kingdom? Colonel Vallancey reported that all round 
the coast the fortifications were in ruins. Cork, 
Waterford, Belfast, Limerick, wealthy and growing 
cities, were utterly undefended; the guns in the batte- 
ries were a hundred years old, and hardly useful as old 
iron. 1 This, too, was disgracefully certain; and though 
the repairs would have commenced on Doomsday in 
the afternoon, if left to the patriots, though the Irish 
Lords Justices were the persons really responsible for 
the neglect, none the less it was a telling charge ; 
and the points of it were not lost in the handling. 
The committee of supply recommended, instead of 

1 ' Commons Journals, November 16.' 



book an increase of the army, a local militia. The Duke 
, v ' of Leinster made up his quarrel with the Speaker, and 

1 769, threw his influence into the opposition, which was now 
in overwhelming* strength; and Flood, Lucas, and 
Pery were chosen to draw up a Militia Bill. The 
stream of triumph still bore them on. They passed 
next to the field on which they had suffered their 
last reverses in their conflict with England — the ori- 
gination of their Money Bills. Since their defeat on 
the appropriation of the surplus, the Money Bill had 
been presented to them by the Council, and they had 
endured it as a perpetual affront. Their turn was 
come for revenge. On the 21st of November the 
motion for the usual supplies was rejected by a large 
majority, because it had not taken its rise in the House 
of Commons of Ireland. The Commons did not mean 
to refuse the grant. They proceeded immediately to 
draw a bill of their own. But they were resolved 
to vindicate their privilege ; and lest the Viceroy 
should attempt to make himself independent of them 
by falling back on the hereditary revenue, they 
thwarted measures which he had proposed for a re- 
duction of the expenditure, and they even introduced 
a motion the effect of which if carried into execution 
would have largely reduced the fixed and permanent 
duties. 1 This last step was of so extreme a kind, that 
the opposition was less unanimous. The friends of 
Government struggled hard to resist it, and had very 
nearly succeeded. But this, too, was carried by the 
casting vote of the Speaker, * who, to the astonish- 

1 ' The sinking of the hereditary Crown in committee, and after- 
revenue is the great plan of some wards in the House. — Townshend 
gentlemen here, and was fought to "Weymouth, December 6.' 
strongly by the servants of the 



merit of everybody, though himself at the head of chap. 
the revenue, divided against the Castle.' 1 IL _ 

Nothing so violent as this had been seen in the 1 
Irish Parliament since the Viceroy alty of Lord Syd- 
ney. On that occasion the Viceroy, without even 
waiting for orders from home, had replied by a pro- 
rogation. Lord Sydney's conduct had been fully 
approved by William's ministers. The Parliament 
which had defied him was not suffered to re-assemble, 
and there had been serious thoughts of abolishing 
the parliamentary constitution. 

Townshend had been too feebly supported by the 
Cabinet to venture on such summary measures on his 
own responsibility. He was confronted by a combi- 
nation of all the great Irish houses — the Leinsters, 
the Shannons, the Ponsonbies, the Beresfords, the 
Loftuses — who had forgotten their jealousies in the 
common resolution to maintain the oligarchical con- 

The catastrophe had come which Townshend had 
foreseen. The noble lords, he said, c have unmasked 
their real sentiments ; ' ' they have shown they mean 
to acknowledge as little as possible the superiority of 
the mother country.' 4 Such conduct as they have 
observed I should despise as a private man ; but 
when marked towards his Majesty's representative, 
it becomes an object of serious consideration.' k The 
constant plan of these men is to possess the govern- 
ment of this country, and to lower the authority of 
English Government, which must, in the end, destroy 
the dependence of this country on Great Britain.' 

Conciliation had borne its natural fruits. The 

1 < Townshend to Weymouth, Dec. 6., 1769.' S. P. 0. 


coercive method was now to be fallen back upon at in- 
en lased disadvantage. Much of the revenue had been 
wasted on public works or jobs. This might be saved 
at once. If, by good management and a more careful 
collection of the fixed customs and excise, the expen- 
diture could be brought within the hereditary revenue, 
the Cabinet directed Townshend to dissolve the 
Parliament, and terminate the childish farce by 
£overnm«: without one. 

It appeared on examination, that if the expenses 
were pared down to the limits of what was barely 
necessary, there would remain an annual deficiency 
of no more than 34,000/ When the additional 
duties were no longer voted, prices would fall, con- 
sumption would increase, smuggling and private dis- 
tilling would cease to be profitable, and the hereditary 
revenue would probably rise. Even if the establish- 
ment were carried on upon the present scale, with the 
Pension List included, the yearly excess need not be 
more than 260,000/. The experiment might at least 
be carried as far as to show the agitators that Eng- 
land was not at their mercy. 

Townshend summoned the Council, in which Pon- 
sonby, Shannon, and the Prime Sergeant continued 
to sit ; and he told them that after the last vote of the 
House of Commons, he should so far follow the pre- 
cedent of Lord Sydney as to protest, and to insist 
on the entry of his protest in the journals. 1 

1 * The wrong which Ireland con- it fell within the provisions of 
ceived itself to suffer about its Poynings' Act, and that the Council 
Money Bills was only appreciable by had the exclusive right. They 
the Nationalist imagination. The claimed that the House of Com- 
patriots did not deny that the Privy mons had a right of origination also; 
Council had a right to originate a and the} r professed to mean no more 
Money Bill They denied only that than that, of two methods equally 



By skilful diplomacy, by social attentions, by the 
brilliant hospitality of the Castle, by the combined 
powers of integrity of general purpose, and flexi- 
bility of scruple, on the means by which that purpose 
was to be obtained, the adroit Lord- Lieutenant had 
in some degree overcome the opposition in the Council 
itself. Hely Hutchinson had been bought at a lower 
price than he had set upon his services, for his wife 
had still to wait for her peerage. Tisdall, the 
Attorney -General, had been gained over. Anthony 



legal, they preferred their own. 
Their real aspiration probably was to 
be rid of Poynings' Act altogether ; 
but this they could not venture to 
avow except under a veil of satire. 
In the height of the tumult there 
appeared in the Freeman's Journal 
" The Hibernian Courtier's Creed," 
signed by Athanasius Secundus: — 
4 " Whosoever would be an Hiber- 
nian Courtier, it is necessary, before 
all mental endowments, that he ex- 
pound rightly the law of Poynings, 
as explained by the 4th and 5th 
chapters of Philip and Mary. 

' " Which law, unless he keeps 
pure and unmixed with any rational 
interpretation, he cannot enjoy place 
or pension, neither shall he receive 
concordatum in this kingdom. 

' u Now, the true construction of 
Poynings' Act is that four different 
branches of the Legislature are al- 
ways acknowledged in our Irish 
Privy Council, continually subsist- 

' " For in the enacting of every 
law the King hath a deliberative 
voice ; the Lords have a delibera- 
tive, the Commons have a delibera- 
tive ; and the Privy Council have 
a deliberative. 

' " The King hath a negative 
voice, the Lords have a negative, 


the Commons have a negative, and 
the Council a negative. 

1 " And yet there are not four de- 
liberatives nor four negatives, but 
one deliberative and one negative, 
frequently exercised against King, 
Lords, and Commons, by his majes- 
ty's most honourable Privy Council. 

i " Further, it is essential to the 
preservation of his present place, 
and to his further hopes of prefer- 
ment, that he conceive just ideas 
of the origination of Money Bills. 

4 " His interest will thus ever 
oblige him to confess that all bene- 
volences are free gifts from the 
people 5 constitutionally take their 
rise in an assembly neither made, 
nor created by, nor proceeding from 
the people. 

4 " This is the Hibernian Cour- 
tier's political faith, to which who- 
soever inviolably adheres shall be 
rewarded with a masked pension 
for himself, and a fancy ball, with- 
out masks, for his wives and daugh- 

' 44 And for all those who reject 
the foregoing liberal explanation, 
there shall be protests, proroga- 
tions, partial sheriffs, packed juries, 
and influenced electors to their 
lives' end." ' — Baratariana, p. 99. 



book Malone had taken the Viceroy's side from the first. 

__V , These gentlemen were now prepared to a certain ex- 

1 769, tent to support Government. They expressed proper 
regret at the behaviour of the House of Commons. 
As the protest would be received with ill humour, 
they advised as a further step an immediate proroga- 
tion. One thing, however, they would not do ; they 
refused unanimously to assist in reducing the expen- 
diture to the level of the hereditary revenue. ' They 
Were all unwilling, 7 the Viceroy wrote, 'that the 
hereditary revenue should be thought sufficient, and 
therefore said everything that could prevent that 
experiment from being tried.' 1 

That an attempt might be made to govern without 
a Parliament the House of Commons lmd already 
anticipated. That it was deliberately in contempla- 
tion, being acknowledged in Council, was of course 
whispered about. Public feeling caught alarm. 
Dublin fell into a fever fit of patriotic enthusiasm ; 
the House of Commons was the idol of the hour, the 
defender of Ireland's liberties ; the emotions may be 
conceived, therefore, with which at this crisis a para- 
graph was received which had just appeared in the 
4 London Daily Advertiser,' telling the patriots how 
they were regarded in that malignant country which 
was the cause of all their woes. 

On the 18th of December a motion was made in 
the House of Commons that a paragraph be read 
from Mr. Woodfall's Paper of the 9th, relating to the 
votes on the Money Bill. The Paper was produced. 
The clerk rose and read — 

4 Hibernian patriotism is a transcript of that filthy 

1 ( Townshend to Weymouth, December 1U 



idol which is worshipped at the London Tavern, chap. 
Insolence assumed from an opinion of impunity - — — — 
usurps the place which boldness against real injuries 
ought to hold. The refusal of the late Bill of Supply 
because it was not brought in contrary to the practice 
of ages, in violation of the constitution and to the cer- 
tain ruin of the dependence of Ireland on Great Britain, 
is a kind of behaviour more suiting to an army of 
Whiteboys than the grave representatives of a nation. 
This is the most daring insult that has been hitherto 
offered to Government. It must be counteracted with 
firmness, or else the State is ruined. Let the refrac- 
tory House be dissolved. If the same spirit of sedi- 
tious obstinacv should continue, I know no remedv but 
one. The Parliament of Great Britain is supreme over 
its conquests as well as its colonies, and the service of 
the nation must not be left undone on account of the 
factious obstinacy of a Provincial Assembly. Let our 
Legislature, for they have the undoubted right, vote 
the Irish supplies, and save a nation that their own 
obstinate representatives endeavour to ruin.' 

It was come to this then. Xot only were they to 
be governed without a Parliament, by the hereditary 
revenue, but taxes were to be imposed on them at 
the will and pleasure of the Legislature of Great 
Britain. Already from across the Atlantic were coming 
sounds of the approaching battle for colonial freedom. 
The wrongs of which America had to complain were 
but mosquito bites by the side of the enormous in- 
juries which had been inflicted by English selfishness 
on the trade and manufactures of Ireland. Why was 
Ireland to submit when America was winning admira- 
tion bv resistance ? Why, indeed ? save that America 
was in earnest. The Irish were not. America meant 




BOOK to fight. The Irish meant only to clamour and to 

, v : . threaten to fight. The American leaders, rightly 

1769. Qr wron frly ? were working for the benefit of the whole 
population of the colonies. The Irish leaders were 
using the wrongs of their country as a means of forcing 
England to bribe them into connivance. Had the 
Irish at any period of their history aspired to any 
noble freedom, they would have fought for it as the 
Scotch fought at far greater disadvantage. They 
expected to obtain the privileges which are the only 
prize of the brave and noble by eloquence and chi- 
canery. They desired those privileges only to convert 
them into personal profit ; and when the hard truth 
was spoken to them, they screamed like hysterical 

A resolution was carried instantly without a dis- 
sentient voice, that the paragraph which they had 
heard ' was a daring invasion of the rights of Par- 
liament,' and 4 was calculated to create groundless 
jealousy between the subjects of the two kingdoms. 1 
The offending paper was burnt on College Green 
before the doors of the House by the hangman, the 
sheriff and javelin -men attending in state at the execu- 
tion. Flood and Pery moved that the Viceroy be 
questioned on his intentions. The House agreed, and 
their temper was not mended by Townshend's answer. 
4 He did not think himself authorised, he said, to dis- 
close his majesty's instructions till he had received his 
majesty's commands for so doing.' 1 

A middle course was now impossible ; at all risks 
the servants of the Crown, who were the real insti- 
gators of the action of the House, must be taught that 

1 Commons 1 Journals, December 21. 



they had passed the limits of forbearance. On the cn.w\ 
23rd the Viceroy wrote for permission to remove — J |" — 
Lord Shannon, the Speaker, and five other lords and 
gentlemen from the Privy Council, and from the 
ofhces Avhich they held under the Crown. 1 A 4 most 
secret ' letter of the same date reiterates his reasons 
for requesting it. 

' Mr. Ponsonby must be displaced from the head 
of the Revenue Board. I need not dwell upon his 
conduct while the marks are so recent and decisive. 
The authority of the Crown in this country can never 
be maintained while this gentleman holds his present 
powers. If we dissolve Parliament he will canvass 
for the chair of the next, with the whole power and 
authority of his office, and we must see to prevent 
him. Lord Lanesborough's friends have gone against 
us, and he was under the gravest obligations to the 
Crown. Mr. Champneys was placed on the esta- 
blishment for 1,000/. a year, to open a seat for his 
lordship at the Revenue Board. To make the 
revenue produce what it ought, one or two members 
of the board must be Englishmen, always resident, 
regularly bred in the revenue of England, men of 
sense, spirit, and honour, who could be depended on 
to do their duty themselves and prevent others from 
abusing theirs. Lord Shannon must be removed 
from the Ordnance, and the inferior board must be 
changed also. The principal share of the power and 
influence of those parties which have so long embar- 
rassed Government was owing to the favour as well as 
forbearance of the Crown under which thev have been 
cherished ; while by a constant private understanding 

1 The Earls of Louth and Sir Hercules Langford Rowley, 
Lanesborough, Sir William Mayne, and Sir William Fownes. 



book with its declared opponents, they have distressed one 
- Lord-Lieutenant, compromised with another, always 
l769, gaining something for themselves, and paring away 
the authority and reputation of the English Govern- 
ment until it has scarce ground left to stand upon. 
Members of the House of Commons have been watch- 
ing to see where the power would finally reside. I 
earnestly recommend these changes, and such a regu- 
lation of the revenue as shall tend to its improvement 
and the support of the Government. Lose no time. 
The same cabals, the same demands, intrigues, and 
pretended patriotism will revive. Government must 
be<rin from this moment to extricate itself from this 
dilemma or must submit.' 1 

The Parliament was allowed one more opportunity 
of repentance. Half alarmed at their own audacity, 
the factious members had consented after all to the 
augmentation of the army. Part of the supplies had 
been voted under forms not included in the bill which 
they had thrown out. The necessary business was 
wound up at Christmas, and the royal assent was given 
to the Acts which had already been passed. The 
Viceroy, on the 26th, addressed the two Houses. He 
told them with painful plainness the light in which he 
regarded them and their doings ; and then, as Lord 
Sydney had done, and as he had given notice that he 
himself intended to do, he submitted a distinct protest 
against the claims w^hich they had advanced, and re- 
quired them to enter it on the Journals. The Peers 
consented, five only objecting and recording the 
grounds of their disagreement. 2 The Commons, too 
proud to yield further, and aware, like the Viceroy, 

1 1 Townshend to Weymouth, 3 Louth, Charlemont, Powers- 
December 23,' Abridged. court, Longford, and Mountmorris. 



that it was a crisis in the constitution, when to <nve chap. 
way was to allow themselves defeated, positively re- « — - — 
fused. Townshend, on his side, was firm. Had they 
complied, they would have separated for the fortnight's 
recess and have re-assembled in January. They were 
prorogued nominally till the 20th of March, but in 
fact, as they all knew, for an indefinite time. 




hook Two courses were now open to the Cabinet, and two 
^ only. The behaviour of the House of Commons, no- 
toriously consequent as it was on the rejection of the 
first overtures of Lord Shannon and Mr. Ponsonby to 
the Viceroy, must have satisfied the most obstinate 
believer in Parliamentary Government that Ireland 
in the existing circumstances was not lit for it. 
Free constitutions presuppose in the leading citizens 
of a country at least some degree of probity and 
patriotism. When the ambition of individuals never 
reaches beyond personal interest, when their con- 
sciences recognise no obligation beyond duty to them- 
selves and their friends, the forms of liberty are 
travestied, and the sooner the truth is recognised and 
acted on the better for all parties concerned. Town- 
shend had been sent to Ireland to put an end to 
jobbery, to clear away the scandals of generations, 
and to begin a new era. He had been foiled by the 
inveterate dishonesty of the principal Irish politicians, 
nor was there the slightest hope of finding in the 
Irish representatives the materials of an honourable 
party on whose support he could rely. The facts 
of the case being undeniably thus, the Viceroy 
might have been left to select a council from the 
many honest and loyal men who had held aloof 
hitherto from the unwholesome atmosphere of Par- 
liament; and with their help, and with economic 
management of the hereditary revenue, he might have 
enforced order, punished fraud and swindling, and 



opened the way by a just administration towards chap. 

a future union with Great Britain. The honest . i^-— 

course would in the end have proved the safest. 
It would have involved sacrifices, however, on the 
part of England. If integrity and justice were 
to be the rule of Government, precept would have 
to be attended by example. The Cabinet could not 
any longer abuse Irish patronage to purchase Par- 
liamentary support at home, or quarter favourites 
on the Irish establishment whom elsewhere they 
dared not recommend. The English statesmen of the 
eighteenth century, the Graftons, the Weymouths, the 
Norths, the Shelburnes, had learnt in official routine 
to regard these resources as indispensable for the 
public service. They were incapable, perhaps, from 
habit and training, of breaking in upon established 
precedent. There was another way of governing Ire- 
land : it was also possible to fall in with the national 
ideas, and to maintain the Parliament as a form ; but 
since corrupt it was, to manage it through and by the 
corruptions which it loved ; to dissolve the old parties, 
and to form instead a new combination which should 
be held together by dependence upon the Castle. 

Of the alternative policies this unhappily was the 
one on which the Cabinet resolved, and Townshend 
remained in Ireland to become the most unwilling 
instrument in carrying it out. He set himself to the 
work of seduction with all the arts which he possessed. 
The Dublin tradesmen had suffered by the premature 
dispersion of the Lords and Commons. The Viceroy 
restored them to good humour by the magnificence 
of the Castle hospitalities. He gave masquerades ; 
he gave fancy balls, in which the costumes, with a 
skilful compliment to Ireland, were made only of 



book Irish manufacture. The members of the Opposition 
. sneered, and would have staid away; the wives and 

177 °" daughters refused to exclude themselves from assem- 
blies of which the capital of Ireland had never seen 
the equal, and forced their husbands and fathers into 
submission. The gentlemen could not resist the fas- 
cination of the Castle dinner parties where the wit was 
as sparkling as the champagne. Townshend laughed 
at everything — laughed at the Opposition, laughed at 
the friends of Government, laughed most of all at 
himself. With his light good humour he conquered 
popularity, while more subtly he secured important 
friends by working substantially upon them below the 
surface. Hely Hutchinson was attached by a pension 1 
which was added to his salary as Prime- Sergeant. 
Pery was disarmed by similar methods, and the 
links of the chain were strengthened which held 
Tisdall. Thus by the time March came, the Viceroy 
felt himself strong enough to begin the serious part 
of his business. To gentle seduction, terrors were to 
be added. The Cabinet had given him the permission 
which he desired, to deprive the Shannon party of 
their offices ; he had watched his opportunity to de- 
liver the blow, and now it fell. They had believed 
that finding themselves in difficulties with America, 
the Cabinet would not venture to punish them. 
On the 6th of March, Shannon, Lanesborough, and 
Ponsonby were undeceived by learning from the 

1 Townshend insisted very rests in opposition to Government, 

strongly on the necessity of this could prevail on me to recommend 

pension. ' Nothing-,' he said, ' but this affair so strongly, by which I 

the unrivalled application and abili- think the mcst useful man in this 

ties of this gentleman, who is so Parliament will be fully secured.' 

necessary for the King's service, and — 'To Weymouth, March 7. 

to be detached from the great inte- Secret.' 



Viceroy that the King had no longer occasion for chap. 
their services. With the chiefs of the Ordnance . — 
Board and the Revenue Board were to follow all the 177() ' 
subordinates and dependents. The entire departments 
were to be changed completely to the very last man. 
The effect was ludicrous. Lord Loftus, another, 
though less inveterate delinquent, and himself the 
possessor of a lucrative office, waited in consternation 
on Townshend, and endeavoured to make his peace. 
Townshend put him on his good behaviour. If he 
tripped again into opposition, he was informed that he 
and all who belonged to him would have to make 
way for trustier men. All offices at the disposition of 
the Crown from highest to lowest were to be held 
thenceforward by persons who would place their votes 
at the disposition of the Viceroy, and by no others. 

The revenue commission had been the scene of 
the grossest frauds ; not only was the whole staff 
to be replaced, but the number of commissioners 
was to be increased: Townshend had significantly said 
that he must have Englishmen among them, men of 
integrity, ability, and experience unconnected with 
Ireland. 1 The patriots looked for an outbreak of 
indignation at the dismissal of their champions. 
They were astonished to find that Dublin cared no- 
thing after all for the oligarchy with whom they 
had identified themselves. The Opposition majority 
disintegrated so rapidly, that the Viceroy almost 

1 The addition to the number of 
revenue commissioners in Ireland 
by Townshend, striking as it did at 
the root of an established and lu- 
crative form of peculation, was the 
subject for many years of the most 
passionate declamation in the Irish 

Parliament. . . By allowing the 
new commissioners to sit in the 
House of Commons, he laid himself 
open to the charge of adding to the 
number of placemen. . . But his 
private letters leave no doubt of the 
real motive for the increase. 


BOOK contemplated the recall of the Parliament. i No 
- servants of the Crown/ he said, ' had ever fallen less 

L770. regretted/ But he preferred to prolong the suspense 
to make sure of his ground. 4 The consequences of 
the late measures had not had time to operate fully.' 
Loftus had promised to behave well. Others would 
follow if not pressed too hastily. Prorogation, there- 
fore, followed prorogation. The submission of the 
same Parliament which had been so audaciously de- 
fiant would be a greater triumph than the election of 
another by a dissolution. The noble lords and their 
friends seeing the game go against them lost their 
tempers. Flood's eloquence continued to stream 
through the press, but it fell flat upon Dublin 
society, which was basking in the sunshine of the 
Castle ; and his invectives read by the light of Town- 
shend's correspondence are absurd to childishness. 
Sir William Mayne, a favourite of the Duke of Leinster, 
was among those who had been removed from the 
Council. He had been one of the most violent of the 
Opposition members, entirely in consequence of what 
he had regarded as a personal affront. On Town- 
shend's arrival in Ireland 4 Mayne honoured him with 
his wishes to be chief secretary,' his qualifications being 
4 that he was one of the most florid, perpetual, and 
inept orators that ever performed on the Irish or any 
other stage.' 1 He had not the success which he ex- 
pected. He then offered to vacate his seat, giving 
the Viceroy the nomination, if the Viceroy would 
recommend him for a peerage. 4 I own to your 
lordship,' the Viceroy said in a letter to Weymouth, 
4 the proposition rather shocked me ; it was a long 

1 ' Townshend to Weymouth, April 28.' 



while before I could bring myself to answer it with chap. 

temper.' Mayne could not have his peerage. He - ^ 

had revenged himself in the usual way. and had now 
been punished. The Duke of Leinster took his 
parasite's disgrace as personal to himself. He wrote 
to Townshend, begging that when the Viceroy erased 
the name of Sir William Mayne he would erase his 
own at the same time. Townshend answered cour- 
teously that the Viceroy had no authority, as the 
duke must be aware, to remove a Privy Councillor 
by an act of his own. If the duke was serious, he 
would, with great concern, 4 transmit his application.' 
In a brief note, characteristic alike of the man, and of 
the elements in which the young Fitzgerald s were 
being educated, the duke repeated his demand. 
1 You are so obliging as to say.' he wrote, 'that if I 
continue to desire it, you will transmit my letter to 
be laid before his majesty. It is the only favour I 
ever asked of your excellency, and I flatter myself 
that your excellency will take such steps as are proper 
to have my request complied with, as it will save 
me the necessity of doing it myself.' 1 

The duke, perhaps, expected Townshend to chal- 
lenge him. He was disappointed. His letter was for- 
warded to St. James's. Sir George Macartney was 
instructed to communicate that the request had been 
complied with ; and the duke closed the singular cor- 
respondence by thanking Macartney for the trouble 
which he had taken, 1 particularly as it had prevented 
him taking an unprecedented step, and perhaps 
attended with some consequences, which, however, he 
would have run, for the ease and satisfaction which 

1 ' The Duke of Leinster to Lord Townshend, April 23, 1770.' S.P.O. 


he now felt in his mind of being no longer of a board 
which he once thought most honourable.' 

Swimming in a base and sordid element, Towns- 
hend, like Cornwallis after him, detested the work in 
which he was engaged of superseding a corrupt oli- 
garchy by corrupt Praetorians. If England could be 
persuaded to treat Ireland with real justice, better 
things might still be possible. 

' The general disposition of his majesty's subjects,' 
he wrote to Lord Weymouth, 4 has been tried and 
found faithful at this crisis. Unagitated by the dis- 
appointment of the leading interests, unprejudiced 
by the insinuations or example of other parts of his 
majesty's dominions, who solicit them to make a 
common cause to distress the Government, they appa- 
rently remain at their homes, a distinguished example 
of loyalty and confidence. Therefore, my lord, I the 
more readily solicit such indulgences as may appear on 
better deliberation fitting to be granted to them. I 
am informed that there is a species of coarse, narrow 
woollen cloth manufactured in this country, proper 
for the Spanish and Portuguese markets, and that 
none of the same quality is manufactured in Great 
Britain. I submit whether the free exportation of that 
article might not be given to Ireland, as it would, in 
some measure, counteract a large bounty given by the 
French for the importation of wool from the western 
parts of this kingdom. 

' It seems also but fair to this country, which has 
been so encouraged to cultivate the linen manufac- 
ture, to extend to them the bounty granted last ses- 
sion of Parliament on the exportation of checks, and 
to take off the heavy duty of 30 per cent, which they 
now pay on importation, equal to a prohibition ; and 



if a bounty on the exportation of printed linens be chap. 

granted as a further encouragement to British linen, - 11 _ 

I should hope it may be thought proper that the same 1770, 
should be extended to Ireland. 

1 Follow my advice, and then the sooner Parlia- 
ment meets the better, lest the country, hitherto 
affectionate, and contemning the private views of our 
opponents, when it finds itself punished for its indis- 
cretion, through disappointment should join those 
whom it at present rejects.' 1 

The favour so modestly requested was but a 
small instalment of the debt of justice which Eng- 
land really owed. Had it been freely conceded at this 
time, what mischief might not have been prevented ! 
Political sagacity may be baffled. Political conces- 
sions may aggravate the evils they are meant to cure. 
Justice only never fails. A few years were to pass, 
and the entire fabric of commercial disabilities was to 
be swept away from its foundations. But the fall of it 
was to bring no gratitude, while the memory of the 
wrong was to remain for ever uneffaced and unefface- 
able. The chain was allowed to remain till it was 
broken by the revolt of the American colonies, and 
Ireland was to learn the deadly lesson that her real 
wrongs would receive attention from England only 
when England was compelled to remember them by 
fear. North, Weymouth, Shelburne — any one of whom 
left to his own intelligence would have seen the fit- 
ness of instant consent — were deaf to advice. The 
manufacturing interests in Parliament were too 
powerful. Townshend's advice could not be followed. 
The bounties of which he spoke were violations even 

1 1 To Weymouth, September 25. Most private and secret.' 


book of the miserable compacts to which Ireland's woollen 
. trade had been sacrificed. Ireland was denied the 

177 °- benefit of them; the Viceroy was driven back on the 
only remedy which remained — of wholesale and sys- 
tematic bribery ; while the essential interests of the 
island were contemptuously neglected or forgotten. 1 

The seizure of the Falkland Isles by Spain, in the 
summer of 1770, created a sudden danger of war. 
Weymouth ordered Townshend to be on his guard. 
Townshend had to reply that the country was still de- 
fenceless, and that if war came, he could not answer for 
the consequences. The Catholics infinitely exceeded 
the Protestants in numbers. They were miserable, 
mutinous, and devoted to their priests. Internal peace 
depended on 4 the submission of the wealthy Roman 
Catholics to the Government.' As to foreign ene- 
mies, 4 neither Waterford, Dungannon, nor Youghal 
could resist a frigate.' 4 Cork, the finest harbour in 
the world, more important to Great Britain than 
Dublin, was defended only by a miserable battery, 
called Cove Fort.' 2 4 Common sense and common 
justice ' had been so long forgotten in Ireland, 4 that 

1 The rise in the price of farm 
produce had not remedied the po- 
verty of the people, for the land- 
owners and middlemen, when they 
were not held in check by the 
"Whiteboys, had secured the profit 
to themselves. Townshend was no 
more of a sentimentalist than Eng- 
lish statesmen are apt to be, yet he 
summed up one of his descriptive 
letters by saying : — ' In short, my 
lord, the distress of this people is 
very great. I hope to be excused 
for representing to his majesty 
the miserable situation of the lower 
ranks of his subjects in this king- 
dom. What from the rapacious- 

ness of tbeir unfeeling landlords 
and the restrictions on their trade, 
they are among the most wretched 
people on earth.' — ' To Weymouth, 
November 23.' 

2 Townshend himself examined 
Cork. 'It must,' he says, 4 be a 
matter of curious speculation to 
whoever traces the old works about 
the harbour, to observe how much 
abler were the engineers in the 
years 1602 and 1644, when Lord 
Mountjoy and Prince Rupert com- 
manded in this country. Dugnose 
and Ramhead were better positions 
than the job at the Cove.' — 'To 
Weymouth, October 16.' 





the powers of party obliged the Government to mis- chai 
apply the purses of the people to private purposes/ 
' An absurd terror had been inculcated, that every 
useful military work, wherever placed, was intended 
more against the liberties of the people than against 
the views of a restless enemy, in constant correspond- 
ence with the restless and bigoted inhabitants of 
their own religion.' 1 Every Government work 
was jobbed 'to gratify individuals whose political 
power was irresistible.' Barracks were placed where 
soldiers would be of least service. Outlying 
posts had been destroyed which had held the 
peasantry in check, and the regiments removed to 
towns where the officers learnt or practised Irish 
vices, and the men forgot their discipline in whisky 

Of the condition of the army there bad been re- 
cently a very painful illustration. Major Wrixon, who 
was with a battalion at Limerick, had carried off a 
young lady from her parents' house by force, and had 
kept her with him in the barracks. He was tried by 
court-martial, and cashiered. The court, however, 

1 Townshend confirms the evi- criminals. French vessels frequent 

dence which came out on the late the coasts, and the great supply of 

Whiteboy trials as to the temper of foreign goods into the south of the 

the Catholics of the South : — kingdom is by means of these peo- 

' The remains of the old Popish pie. It is amazing that all the 

clans keep up a constant corre- posts of troops which King William 

spondence with France and Spain, established in the country to civilize 

for smuggling, for recruits, and for the people should have been re- 

our deserters. They are a very moved to the corporations in the 

lawless people, mostly armed, fre- interior, and those parts left in as 

quentiy forming themselves into uncivilized and dangerous a state 

banditti, defying law and magis- as at that period. When the moun- 

trates, and committing the greatest tains are occupied the revenue will 

outrages. The troops are called for be increased forty or fifty thousand a 

to secure common execution of year.' — To Weymouth, October 10. 




BOOK memorialized the Crown in his favour, on the ground 
~— — - that Major Wrixon's dismissal from the service would 
] "°' distress his sister ! 

At Rathdowney, in Queen's County, there had 
been a scene no less characteristic. The Viceroy had 
reported that c there was a wild ungovernable dis- 
position in the people of many parts of the kingdom, 
which neither the common law nor the civil magi- 
strates were able to restrain.' The military had to be 
called in at Rathdowney, but the military power was 
as little to be trusted as the civil power was inadequate. 
A sergeant's guard went into the town on market-day, 
apparently to buy provisions. Other privates of the 
regiment at the station followed them, and, with no 
discoverable provocation, ' fell promiscuously on the 
inhabitants, wounding some and killing others.' Not 
an officer was to be found in the place but the quar- 
termaster. It was proved to be the practice of the 
officers everywhere to ' appear in quarters for a day, 
sign the returns, and then absent themselves till the 
next return.' 

Townshend hurried himself to the spot, and or- 
dered the troops to be paraded without arms. Those 
of the rioters who could be identified were handed 
over to the civil authorities. The rest were marched 
to Dublin, and tried by a general court-martial. 
The officers were charged with being absent from 
duty without leave. They were found guilty, and 
dismissed the service ; but, like Major Wrixon, were 
recommended to mercy. With such troops, such 
officers, and such court-martials, the Viceroy did not 
find his task more easy of defending the augmen- 
tation of the army. He refused to listen to the 



memorial. In both instances the sentence was car- CHAPl 
ried ont. But here, too, the evil could be traced to ^-J^ — 
the common source of all the disorders in the country. 17/(K 
' The necessity of yielding to powerful parliamentary 
interests had been the great source of the indiscipline 
of the armv.' 





book The public departments had been reorganized. The 
— ^ — . dependents of the Boyles and the Ponsonbies had 
1 4 ' ' vanished with their chiefs. The Customs and Excise 
boards had been re-filled by new members, w r ho could 
be relied on to refuse to countenance dishonesty, and 
whose votes could be depended on in a parliamentary 
division. The great Loftus interest had been brought 
into obedience, and the support of the independent 
members, who had held aloof in the last session, had 
been secured by the only means which were capable 
of attaching them. It was said afterwards by Lord 
Clare, that half a million in all was the price which 
they had placed upon their services. At length, in 
the spring of 1771, the Viceroy found himself once 
more prepared to meet the Parliament, without fear of 
the renewal of the scenes of the late session. The 
lowest calculation of the numbers at the disposition 
of Government anticipated a majority of at least 
twenty in the same House and among the same men 
who, eighteen months before, were half prepared to 
declare the independence of Ireland. Lord Towns- 
hend's instructions were not to re-open old sores, or to 
require a recall of the hostile resolution. His protest 
had sufficed. He was now to conciliate, to hold out 
hopes that the King would 1 co-operate ' in relieving 
Irish distress : and to show ' that it would be owing 
solely to the rashness and folly of the Opposition if 



they and their fellow-subjects were deprived of those chap. 
advantages.' 1 . 

Once more, on the 24th of February, the Viceroy J " J ' 
encountered the lords and gentlemen who had sworn 
to drive him from Ireland. Without referring to 
past differences, he told them that he had the truest 
satisfaction in obeying his majesty's commands to 
meet them again. Knowing something, perhaps, of 
what had happened in the interval, but ignorant 
how far the methods employed had been successful, 
the Opposition declared war upon the instant, and 
an address was moved by the younger Ponsonby, 
in which the usual compliments to the Lord-Lieu- 
tenant were pointedly omitted. An amendment was 
proposed to replace the customary words. 2 A debate 
followed, which lasted till midnight, and the fatal truth 
was then revealed in the division, that the power of 
the Ponsonbies had passed from them. They were 
defeated by 132 to 107. Their own arms had been 
turned against them. By the control of the public 
purse they had hitherto secured a monopoly of power. 
Place, pension, promotion, all pleasant things which 
Irish politicians entered Parliament to gain, were 
thenceforward to be the reward of the faithful servants 
of the Castle, and of no others. Though recovered 
by the most questionable means, the authority of 
the Crown was restored to its visible representative. 

The defeated families had been adroit enough to 
represent their cause as the cause of Ireland. In 
return for the support of the patriots against the 
Viceroy they had themselves adopted the patriot 

1 1 Lord Rocbford toTownshend, thanks to his majesty for continu- 
fijebruary 9, 1771.' ing his excellency Lord Townshend \ 

2 'To return our most humble in the government of this kingdom.' 



OOK cries; and when it was plain that Parliament had 

, deserted them, they were taken up as martyrs by 

l77L the people. A furious mob assembled the next day 
at College Green. . Loftus was pelted and insulted ; 
suspected members of the Lower House were caught, 
and oaths of fidelity to Ireland were thrust into their 
mouths. The troops were called out to disperse 
the rioters, and remained on guard at the gates when 
the business of the morning commenced. Flood 
started to his feet with a complaint that freedom was 
in danger from the presence of an armed force. He 
moved a resolution that the House was being over- 
awed. Out of a hundred and fifty members, fifty- 
one only supported him. Still unable to realize what 
had happened, he returned to the subject on which 
before he had achieved so splendid a triumph. He 
moved that it was necessary to declare the undoubted 
privilege of the Commons to originate the Money 
Dills. Here, too, his strength had vanished. He 
forced a division, and Townshend's new allies were 
true to their engagements. Flood's motion was lost 
by 128 to 105. 

But humiliation so direct was naturally painful. 
The Viceroy had desired to spare his new supporters, 
and was willing to allow them to soothe their self- 
respect by a show of consistency. Sexton Pery 
moved, as a paragraph in the address, that 4 while 
the Commons were incapable of attempting anything 
against the rights of the Crown, they were tenacious 
of the honour of being the first movers in granting 
supplies; and they besought his majesty not to con- 
strue their zeal into an invasion of his authority.' 
To Townshend, Pery represented his motion as an 
apology and admission of fault. Townshend saw that 



it was an indirect assertion of the disputed right, chap. 
He did not himself quarrel with the words ; but the - 11 _ 
King, at his advice, made a marked allusion to them 1<71 - 
in his reply ; and the Commons, by inserting the 
reply in the Journals, without comment or objection, 
accepted and submitted to the implied reproof. 1 

The address to the Crown being agreed upon, there 
followed next the address to the Lord- Lieutenant, 
the double ceremony being invariably observed. 
The Opposition saw that it would be hopeless to re- 
sist. The address to Townshend. was passed, and 
the duty of presenting it fell to Ponsonby as Speaker. 
It was too much for him. Driven off the field, 
utterly and finally defeated, he could not be the 
person to place the laurel- wreath on the brows of 
his conqueror. 4 He had desired,' he said, in convey- 
ing to the House his resignation of the chair, ' to 
preserve and transmit to his successor the rights and 
privileges of the Commons of Ireland. In the last 
session it had pleased the Lord- Lieutenant to accuse 
the Commons of a great crime. In the present ses- 
sion it had pleased the Commons to take the first 
opportunity of testifying their approbation of his ex- 
cellency by voting him an address of thanks. Respect 
for their privileges prevented him from being the 
instrument of delivering such address, and he must 
request them to elect another Speaker.' 2 

He, perhaps, hoped his resignation would not be 
accepted. The Government, in fact, narrowly escaped 
defeat upon it. Sir George Macartney proposed Sexton 

1 'His majesty is well pleased his indispensable duty to assert, and 

-with the assurance given by the which he will ever think it incum- 

House of Commons of their regard bent on him to maintain.' 

for his rights, and those of the 2 Commons' Journals, March 4, 

• Jrown of Great Britain, which it is 1771. 



book Pery. The elder Fitzgibbon seconded him. Pery's 

_ v< election in a full House was carried only by a majo- 

177L rity of four. 1 Ponsonby had a vote of thanks for 
his past services, and the House, its interests being 
no longer absorbed in quarrelling with the Viceroy, 
addressed itself to practical business. Heads of 
bills were drawn for the encouragement of agricul- 
ture, for the repression of trade combinations, for the 
determination of wages and hours of work. Drunk- 
enness was increasing annually. A bill was devised 
to prevent corn from being wasted on whisky-mak- 
ing. While Townshend, eager on his side to en- 
courage the Irish in any useful exertion, again pressed 
on the Home Government the unfairness of giving 
bounties to the Manchester manufacturers, in the 
teeth of the linen compact, and pleaded either that 
the bounty should be withdrawn, or Ireland be allowed, 
to share it. 2 

It might have been expected by the least sanguine 
of Ireland's real friends, that when the Parliament 
had at last addressed itself to real business, England 
would have given it some encouragement. England 
had made herself responsible for Ireland by forcibly 
annexing it to the empire. She had just completely, 
if scandalously, recovered her constitutional autho- 
rity. We find, with a feeling approaching indigna- 
tion, that she at once dismissed the wretched country 

1 Lord Tyrone wanted his bro- first families and friends to Govem- 
ther, Mr. John Beresford, to be ment, and the revival of an idea 
chosen. Beresford had been al- that English Government would 
read} T nominated chief of the new again fall into the hands of con- 
commissioners of the Revenue. tractors, was so strong that I was 
' The envy,' said the Viceroy, obliged to urge Lord Tyrone to 
' which would have followed a withdraw his brother. He did so 
young man so likely soon to be in the handsomest manner, and sup- 
at the head of the Revenue, hold- ported Mr. Pery.' — Townshend to 
ing the chair at the same time, Rochford, March 11. 
the effect it would have had on the 2 ' To Rochford, March 24.' 


out of her mind, and relapsed into selfish indiffer- 
ence. Not only was Townsh end's caution on the 
linen compact again neglected, the bounties main- 
tained in favour of Manchester and refused to Belfast, 
but even the heads of the Agricultural Bill were 
rejected, because it would add to the expenditure. 
The Whisky Bill was rejected, because the Treasury 
could not spare the few thousand pounds which were 
levied upon drunkenness. 1 The alteration in the 
J udges' Tenure, which Townshend had promised, had 
been lost through faction and misunderstanding. The 
House expected that these matters would now re- 
ceive attention, but they expected in vain. A prudent 
Government would have remembered that corruption 
is as dishonourable to those who employ it as to those 
who yield to it; would have endeavoured to atone for 
its own share in that bad transaction, and to reconcile 
the purchased majority to their shame, by at least 
assisting them to confer solid benefits on their country. 
The session did not end without a significant expres- 
sion of regret for the lost opportunity. Thanks were 
proposed to the Viceroy for his just and prudent ad- 
ministration. A sarcastic substitute, proposed by a 
hot member of the Opposition, fell unseconded. 2 An 
amendment to expunge the words 4 just and prudent ' 
found fifty supporters. 

1 The Viceroy was not to blame. 
In transmitting the heads of the 
proposed Act he said the whisky 
shops were ruining the peasantry 
and the workmen. There was an 
earnest and general desire to limit 
them. 'It will he a loss to the 
revenue/ he admitted, 'but it is 
a very popular bill, and will give 
general content and satisfaction 
throughout the kingdom.' 

2 ' Proposed to give the Viceroy 

our special thanks for having ob- 
tained for this country a law se- 
curing j udges in their offices and ap- 
pointments during good behaviour, 
in pursuance of his excellency's 
promise; for the returning of the 
law for the restraining of the distil- 
leries ; for the expected alteration 
of other laws ; for the rise in the 
value of lands.' — Commons Jour- 
nals, May 16, 1771. 



book Corruption unredeemed by integrity of purpose be- 
_t . comes an expensive process. The more complete the 

1 ' ' 1 ' shame, the higher the price that must be paid for it. 
The Dublin press was free, and Loftus, Tyrone, Tisdall, 
Hutchinson, and the other apostates from the patriot 
band, were held up weekly in the 1 Freeman's J ournal ' 
to public scorn. Back stairs Castle scandals, as false 
most of them as the general conception which the 
patriots had formed of Lord Townshend, were the 
daily amusement of the coffee houses. Had the 
recovered influence of Government shown itself in 
active measures for the relief of the people, the igno- 
miny would have been less bitter. When nothing 
of this kind appeared, the Viceroy found himself 
beset with demands which he dared not refuse, lest 
he should imperil all that he had gained. Viscounts 
who had sons and nephews in the Lower House 
wanted earldoms. Barons wanted to be viscounts, 
Commons to be barons. Patrons of boroughs re- 
quired promotions in the army for their friends ; 
sinecures and offices in remainder for themselves and 
their families. The really important reform which 
had been carried out in the Ordnance and Rer 
venue departments added to the difficulties. The 
Viceroy had made a deadly enemy of every man who 
had filled his pockets under the old system. The 
increase expected from the change in the hereditary 
revenue had offended the old politicians, who desired 



to keep the Government dependent. 1 Mr. Beresford, chap. 

who was to succeed Ponsonby as head commissioner, « Hi_ 

was dissatisfied to find that he was not to succeed to 17 ' l ' 
Ponsonby's patronage. Sir William Osborne was 
displeased at being passed over in Beresford's favour. 
The Earl of Tyrone asked for a marquis's coronet, and 
could not have it. The promotion of his second 
brother was an inadequate compensation. Another 
brother, William Beresford, had married old Fitz- 
gibbon's daughter. Tyrone applied for a bishopric 
for him. He was but twenty-eight years old, and the 
request being refused, Fitzgibbon conceived himself 
affronted as well. The price of dishonour was raised 
so high that the income and patronage of England 
would not have satisfied all the claimants; and as 
England would give nothing except rewards for 
political service, the Viceroy was in a bad position. 

Money was wanted. No supplies had been asked 
for in the spring, and Parliament re-assembled on the 
8th of October. The patriots were in spirits again. 
The address was fought through once more, paragraph 
by paragraph. Lord Kildare moved that 4 we lament 
that we cannot enumerate among our blessings the 
continuance of Lord Townshend in the government of 
this kingdom.' Flood stoutly seconded him, and at 
each division the Government majority diminished. 
The traffic with Ireland's conscience had been costly. 
The Money Bill of 1769 had been rejected, and the 
expenditure had not been reduced. On the 12th of 
November, Flood called scornful attention to the 

1 ' It is perceived that thereby an making 1 with ungrateful servants or 

end would be put to those annual prostitute opponents/ — Townshend 

bargains which Government at pre- to the Earl of Eochford, December 

sent is under the sad necessity of 11. Secret. 



BOOB deficit, and was in a minority of not more than 
, twenty. Following up his campaign, he attacked 

1771, the alteration in the Revenue Board, on the ground 
of increase of English influence in the House 
of Commons ; and on the 16th he carried his reso- 
lution by a majority of forty-six. He proposed to 
send it to the Viceroy by the Speaker's hand, and 
was successful again. At the back of this came a 
job of Lord North's. Lord North, for reasons of his 
own, had ordered Townshend to place a certain Jerry 
Dyson and his three sons on the Irish Establishment 
for a pension of a thousand a year. In vain Town- 
shend had protested against it as dangerous. The 
minister persisted, and the result was a vote of censure. 
4 In spite of all that I could do,' wrote the poor 
Viceroy, ' those who were under very high obliga- 
tions to Government voted against us, and others 
went out.' This time the supplies were not opposed, 
but to his disgust rather than surprise, the Viceroy 
found 4 that there was once more a general design to 
distress and disgrace the English Government.' 1 
In another year, unless the disorderly spirit could be 
controlled, the Money Bills would be again in danger. 
Sadly and wearily he detailed the history of his mis- 
fortunes. Tisdall and Hely Hutchinson had been 
languid. Malone had spoken for the Opposition, and 
divided with them. The new-made Privy Councillors, 
from whom so much help had been looked for, had been 
found wanting at the hour of trial. The Beresford 
faction generally had been vehement and violent; 
and of the rank and file of members who had either 
broken their engagements or had presented requests 

1 ' Townshend to Rochford, December 5. Most secret.' 


which had not been granted, and were revenging 
their disappointment, a black list was forwarded to 
London. 1 

So dark a second time appeared the prospects of the 

1 The list, with the attached re- 
marks, is curiously instructive on 
the working Irish Parliamentary 
Government : — 

'Members considered as friends 
who have voted against Govern- 

' Lord Dunluce. — His father (the 
Eari of Antrim) asks a marquisate. 
His lordship solicits a place for his 

' Hugh Skeffington. — Obtained 
through me a pension of 200/. for 
his brother's widow. 

' Wm. Sketiington. — Obtained a 
cornetcy and a company in two 

'Geo. Montgomery. — I gave a 
friend of his, on his request, an em- 
ployment of 80/. a year. 

' Robert Birch. — Solicits a resig- 
nation of ten livings from the 

' John Creighton. — Has an ap- 
pointment of 250/. a year. I soli- 
cited and obtained a peerage for his 
father, who promised every support, 
but is always, as well as his other 
sons, against Government. 

' Robert Scott. — I made him a 
commissioner of the Linen Board, 
and he has since asked for a place. 

' Sir Arthur Brooke. — I procured 
him the Privy Council, and like- 
wise, very lately, a majority of 
dragoons, without purchase, for his 

' Ric. Gorges. — Is connected with 
Lord Tyrone. He has asked for a 

'Edward Carey. — Brother-in- 
law to Lord Tyrone. I procured 
him the Privy Council, and several 

things have been done to oblige 

1 James Fortescue. — Lord Cler- 
mont's brother, I procured him 
the Privy Council. He wants a 
peerage in remainder. 

' Colonel Cunningham. — I recom- 
mended him for the first regiment 
that falls during my administration. 

' Mr. Westenra. — Was brought in 
by Lord Clermont, and promised 
always to support Government. He 
asks for a place. 

1 Colonel Pomeroy. — Obtained 
leave of absence from America to 
attend Parliament. He asks for a 

6 Henry Pritty. — Asked and ob- 
tained a promise of Church prefer- 
ment a few days before the division. 

' Th. Coghlan. — I made him com- 
missioner of the Linen Board. He 
asks for a place. 

4 Hugh Massey.— Solicits a peer- 
age for himself, and an advance in 
the Revenue for his eldest son. 

' Ch. Smith. — I made his brother 
a judge. 

' Thos. Conolly. — A deanery was 
given to this gentleman's friend, a 
seat at the Revenue Board to his 
brother-in-law, and several other 
things in the army and revenue. 

1 Colonel W. Bruton. — Wants to 
purchase the office of Quartermaster- 
General, and to sell his lieutenant- 
colonel's commission at an advanced 

' Anthony Malone. — Has been 
obliged in everything that he has 

' Mr. Malone. — Nephew to An- 
thony Malone,' &c, &c. 


Government, that Ponsonby came again to the front. 
The new Revenue Board was naturally the object of 
his attack. He felt so confident of success, that he bet 
500 to 3 that he would destroy it. He swore 1 that 
he would never quit the office of door-keeper in the 
House of Commons till he had driven Lord Towns- 
hend out of the country.' 1 Lord Townshend re- 
quired no driving ; he would have been heartily glad 
to be gone ; for the Cabinet left nothing undone to 
aggravate his difficulties. Of 4 justice to Ireland' 
he could obtain nothing, and for his real reform only a 
lukewarm support. 2 Of wrong, and wrong inflicted in 
the most insulting form, there was as much as Ireland's 
worst enemy could desire. Notwithstanding their 
ill-humour, the Parliament had voted the supplies. 
They had introduced a clause among the additional 
duties, protecting Irish linen from the importation of 
cotton manufacture from the Continent. It was a 
protection to which Ireland was strictly entitled. 
The Cabinet, free-traders when only Ireland's in- 
terests were at stake, struck the paragraph out, and 
returned the Money Bill without it. There is no folly 
like that of giving an unreasonable antagonist a moral 
advantage. The Commons flung the Bill out in a 
rage ; they said distinctly they would never pass a 
Money Bill which had been altered in England. 
Heads of a new bill were drawn in which the clause was 
replaced, and were sent back without a moment's 
delay. The Cabinet swallowed the affront and 
yielded. The new bill was returned, compared care- 

1 ' Townshend to Rochford, De- 
cember 12.' 

2 1 The Cabinet had begun to 
doubt " whether, in the face of the 

opposition, it was prudent to carry 
out the new Revenue Board."' — 
Rochford to Townshend, December 



fully with the transmiss, and being found unchanged chap. 

was passed. But the Revenue question had been u : 

re-opened. Flood's resolution had been sent to the ltt ~' 
King for consideration, and ToTrnshend had but small 
confidence in Lord Xorth's resolution. Xothinnr had 
been allowed which ought to have been allowed. His 
hands were soiled with work which he detested, and 
which, after all, was turning out useless. He longed 
to be clear of it. * He had been fighting hard for 
four years,' he said, ' and he had now a right to ask 
for repose.' He thought the Cabinet unwise in every 
way ; unwise in altering the Money Bill ; unwise in 
submitting when submission wore the complexion of 
cowardice. 1 Concessions to popular opinion.' he said 
(and the history of Ireland is one long illustration 
of his words), 1 are seldom repaid with gratitude. 
They have been interpreted hitherto as foundations 
only for further claims. It is only by a determined 
resolution of adhering to system, and by constant 
perseverance, that the authority of the English Go- 
vernment can be maintained in this kingdom.' 

Lord North proved firmer than Townshend ex- 
pected. On the 5th of February the answer came, 
that notwithstanding the objections of the House of 
Commons, his majesty regarded it as his duty to 
maintain the changes which had been made in the 
Revenue department. The patriots, of course, pursued 
the quarrel. Sir Charles Bingham, when the King's 
reply was delivered in the House, rose and moved that 
the resolution of the 16th of November should be 
read. He then declared that the maintenance of the 
new commissioners was an indignitv to the Parlia- 
ment. Ponsonby following him, proposed that the 
House should choose a committee to go to London 



book and lay the sentiments of the Irish Commons before 
v - . the King. The Cabinet, provoked into resolution, 

j; ~ rl - declined to be visited by ; Irish Parliamentary Am- 
bassadors.' They bade Townshend prevent the ac- 
complishment of such a piece of foolery at all hazards. 
If nothing else would do, he must prorogue. 1 It 
seemed as if once more the Viceroy would be driven 
to this alternative. One angry motion followed upon 
another. Flood carried a vote that the House should 
record its dissent, and followed it with a proposal that 
members of the House who had accepted seats at the 
new Board were guilty of contempt, and should neither 
sit nor vote till they had resigned. This was too 
violent, and was rejected. On the 19th of February, 
however, the patent for the new commissioners was read 
aloud. A resolution less extreme was moved, that 
whoever had advised the increase in the number of 
commissioners had advised a measure contrary to the 
sense of the Irish legislature. The numbers on a 
division were equal — 106 in favour, 106 against. 
Again a question in which the Government was 
directly assailed turned on the casting vote of the 
Speaker, and Sexton Pery, who was perfectly well 
acquainted with the real reasons for the alterations of 
the Board, and was without the excuse of delusion, 
did as Ponsonby had done before him, and divided 
against the Government. 

Prorogation or dissolution ! To one of these two 
the Viceroy's choice appeared to be limited, when 
suddenly the ranks of the Opposition wavered ; a 
combination which had threatened to be irresistible 
dissolved like a mist. Xeither the Commons' Journals 

1 1 Kochford to Townshend, February 12, 1772.' 



nor the Irish Histories explain the change. So much chap. 
only is visible, that from this time forward the Viceroy >_ u ,' 
was worried with no more adverse resolutions. The 
new Board went quietly about its work, and for the 
present no further effort was made to reduce its num- 
bers or drive its members from the House. Once 
more an address was carried to the Viceroy, in which 
the Commons declared their entire satisfaction with his 
Excellency's administration, and an amendment con- 
veying in every sentence the indignation of a baffled 
faction conscious of defeat was rejected without a 
division. 1 

The interpretation implied in the language of the 
amendment is the increase in the army of placemen 
whose votes were at the Viceroy's disposition. But 
though the Viceroy had not again appointed to offices 
of trust men who had divided against him at the most 
critical moment, the Deus ex machina who rescued 
him from his difficulties was a penitent friend of the 

1 Proposed amendment to the a high contempt of Parliament. 
Address, May 27 : — ' And we can- But, from the distribution of the 
not sufficiently congratulate your multiplied seats at the two boards 
excellency on your prudent dispo- now instituted among members of 
sition of lucrative offices among this House, w r e entertain a very 
the members of this House, where- different sense of that measure, and 
by your excellency has been enabled conceive that it was carried into 
to excite gratitude sufficient to in- execution, not from contempt, but 
duce this House to bear an honour- the highest veneration of Parlia- 
able testimony to an administration ment, the indignation of which 
w T hich, were it not that it has been you dreaded, and therefore thus 
found so beneficial to individuals, averted. And we assure your ex- 
must necessarily have been repre- cellency we are very much obliged 
sented to his majesty as the most to you for the offices which you 
exceptionable and destructive to have bestowed upon us. We also 
this kingdom of any that has ever return you thanks for instituting 
been carried on in it. The carrying offices for us at a new Board of Ac- 
into execution the division of the counts, which, however unnecessary 
Revenue Board, contrary to the for the public service, we find very- 
sense of this House, we should serviceable to ourselves." — Com- 
have considered and represented as mons Journals. 




book people, no less a person than Lord Shannon. When 
— i — - the storm was beginning there had come from that un- 
looked for quarter a partial gleam of hope. The 
earl, after recovering from his dismissal, had re- 
flected that the English interest might in the long 
run prove the strongest. He had made private 
advances to Townshend. Townshend had placed 
him in communication with Lord North, and had 
been anxiously expecting the result. A few days 
after the Speaker's desertion he was able to write to 
Lord Eochford that Lord Shannon had come to 
Dublin, and though still appearing to keep aloof from 
the Castle, ' would by-and-bye support the Govern- 
ment upon any terms which his majesty should be 
pleased to approve.' 

1 1 need not caution your lordship,' he continued, 
' how extremely essential it is to the King's service 
here that this transaction with Lord Shannon, so 
critical to Government at this period, should not 
transpire, as its enemies would not fail to take 
every advantage of it, and to revolt. Lord Shannon 
appears to wish to return as early as possible to the 
service of the Crown with the utmost propriety and 
effect. At the same time, in justice to the use 
we derive from his conduct, I must request your 
lordship to lay xhe circumstances before his majesty, 
that it may have its due weight. It will account in 
great measure for the inaction of one desperate fac- 
tion, and the disappointment of a shameful flying 
squadron, who have the greatest obligations to the 
Crown.' 1 

1 < Townshend to the Earl of Rochford, Feb. 29.' Secret. 




From the picture of this astonishing Parliament we chap. 
turn to the people whom it represented. England in _J^__ 
her better days had planted Ireland with Protestant 17 r2 - 
colonists, who were designed to reclaim and civilize it. 
Of these colonists the natural leaders enjoyed a self- 
granted and perpetual leave of absence. The mother 
country having exchanged Puritan godliness for the 

Jo o o 

commercial gospel, thought fit to paralyze those who 
remained and were industrious, for the benefit of the 
Scotch and English manufacturers. The settlers, 
finding selfishness and injustice the rule of the 
country, followed naturally so inviting an example. 

Before the Whiteboy agitation had abated in Tip- 
perary, similar disturbances, rising from analogous 
causes, had appeared among the Presbyterian farmers 
of Ulster. In the south the especial grievances had 
been the tithing the potato gardens, the enclosure of 
commons, and the raising of rents. To these, which 
existed in equal force in the north, was added a form 
of extortion in the county cess. 

4 Neither the laws,' wrote Lord Townshend to the 
Home Secretary, 4 nor provincial justice, are adminis- 
tered here as in England. Neither the quarter ses- 
sions nor the grand juries give the counties the same 
speedy relief, nor maintain the like respect, as with 
us. The chief object of the grand juries is so to dis- 
pose of the county cesses as best suits their party 
views and private convenience. The sums raised by 




BOOK these gentlemen throughout the kingdom amount to 
not less than 130,000/. per annum, which is levied 

177 ' 2 ' upon the tenantry, the lower classes of which are in 
a state of poverty not to be described. It may easily 
be imagined what the poor people feel when these 
charges are added to rents already stretched to the 
uttermost.' 1 

The Ulster Protestants, being more patient and 
law-abiding than the Catholics of the south, had been 
peculiarly exposed to these exacting and oppressive 
cesses. 4 It is notorious,' Captain Erskine reported, 
who was sent by Townshend to the north to examine 
into the complaints which were brought to him, 4 what 
use is made by grand juries of the powers given them 
to lay cess for roads and bridges. Jobs upon jobs, 
one more infamous than another, serve to support 
the interests of some leading men in the country. I 
do not believe the roads in any part of the world are 
as bad as in these five counties; 2 yet I am told they 
have, from time immemorial, been cessed by their 
grand juries at 50,000/. a year/ 3 

In 1764 parties of the poorer tenants collected 
under the name of Oak Boys, to bring the landlords 
into more moderate dealing with them. Cattle were 
houghed or slashed. Farmsteads were burnt. Com- 
binations were formed to resist cess and rent and 
tithe. The Oak Boys, however, never became for- 
midable, and the landlords had gone on in the high 
oppressive style which had become natural to them. 
The increase of the linen trade in the first years of 
Townshend's Government gave them fresh opportu- 

1 < To Rochford, March 18, 1772.' 3 'Captain Erskine to Mr. Lee, 

2 Berry, Armagh, Tyrone, Down, April 10, 1772.' S. P. O. 
and Antrim. 



nities. 4 The northern Protestants,' in a 1 remon- chap. 
strance ' which they sent up to the Government, drew . — ... - 
an instructive picture of the treatment to which they 1 
had been subjected. During the first half of the cen- 
tury, they said, ' the wise conduct and encourage- 
ment of the nobility of Ulster ' had so developed the 
flax manufacture, that the workpeople 'had been 
enabled to make decent settlements and live com- 
fortably.' The arable lands were all occupied and 
well cultivated. The inhabitants multiplied, the 
country prospered. 4 The landlords thirsted to share 
the people's benefits by raising their rents, which 
would have been very reasonable in a moderate degree, 
but of late they had run to £reat excesses.' 1 When 
the tenant's lease was ended they published in the 
newspapers that such a parcel of land was to be let, 
and that proposals in writing would be received for 
it. They invited every covetous, envious, and ma- 
licious person to offer for his neighbours possessions 
and improvements. The tenant, knowing he must be 
the highest bidder or turn out, he knew not whither, 
would offer more than the value. If he complained 
to the landlord that it was too dear, the landlord an- 
swered that he knew it was so, but as it was in a 
trading country, the tenant must make up the defi- 
ciency by his industry. Those who possessed the 
greatest estates were now so rich that they could not 
find delicacies in their own country to bestow their 
wealth on, but carried it abroad, to lavish there the 
entire days' sweat of thousands of their poor people. 
Thev drained the countrv, and neglected their own 
duties. Xature assigned the landlord to be a father 
and counsellor of his people, that he might keep 
peace and order among them, and protect them and 


encourage industry. Though the order of things had 
made it necessary that the lower should serve under 
the higher, yet the charter of dominion had not said 
that the lower should suffer by the higher.' 1 

Political economy, though passing into practical 
life, had not yet become the rule of administrations. 
George the Third ordered Townshend to do his ut- 
most to convince the landlords of their 4 infatuation.' 2 
Townshend himself had already introduced a Ten- 
ants' Protection Bill into the Irish Parliament, 
but 4 had been defeated by the popularity-hunting 
party in the House of Commons.' 3 At length a 
flagrant and enormous act of tyranny set light to the 
fuel which was lying everywhere ready to kindle. 

Sir Arthur Chichester, the great Viceroy of Ire- 
land under James the First, was of all Englishmen 
who ever settled in the country the most useful to 
it. His descendant, the Lord Donegal of whom it 
has become necessary to speak, was, perhaps, the 
person who inflicted the greatest injury on it. Sir 
Arthur had been rewarded for his services by vast 
-estates in the county Antrim. The fifth Earl and 
first Marquis of Donegal, already, by the growth of 
Belfast, by the fruits of other men's labours while he 
was sitting still, enormously rich, found his income 
still unequal to his yet more enormous expenditure. 
His name is looked for in vain among the nobles 
who, in return for their high places, were found in 
the active service of their country. He was one of 
those habitual and splendid absentees who discharged 
his duties to the God who made him by consenting 

1 ' Remonstrance of the Northern 6, 1772.' 

Protestants.'— Irish MS&, 1772. 3 < Townshend to Rochford, March 

S. P. 0. 11.' S. P. 0. 

2 ' Rochford to Townshend, April 


to exist, and to the country which supported him by 
magnificently doing as he would with his own. 

Many of his Antrim leases haying fallen in simol- 

J o 

taneously. he demanded a hundred thousand pounds 
in fines for the renewal of them. The tenants, all 
Protestants, offered the interest of the money in 
addition to the rent. It could not be. Speculative 
Belfast capitalists paid the fine, and took the lands 
over the heads of the tenants to sublet. A Mr. Upton, 
another great Antrim proprietor, imitated the ex- 
ample, and 4 at once a whole country side were 
driven from their habitations. 1 The sturdy Scots, 
who hi five generations had reclaimed Antrim from 
the wilderness, saw the farms which they and then- 
fathers had made valuable let by auction to the 
highest bidder : and when they refused to submit 
themselves to robbery, saw them let to others, and 
let in many instances to Catholics, who would promise 
anything to recover their hold upon the soil. 1 

• The law may warrant these proceedings, but will 
not justify them.' wrote Captain Erskine, when the 
evicted peasants and artisans were meeting to ex- 
press their sense of them. 1 Should the causes of 
these riots be looked into, it will be found that few 
have had juster foundations. When the consequences 
of driving six or seven thousand manufacturing and 
labouring families out of Ireland come to be felt. I 
question whether the rectitude of these gentlemen's in- 
tentions will be held by the world a sufficient excuse 
for the irreparable damage they are doing.' 2 

1 1 am not ignorant that Arthur to the Xew had distinctly developed 

Voung palliates these evictions. He themselves. 

-wrote before the consequences - 4 Captain Erskine to Mr. Lee, 

which extended from the Old World April 10, 1772.' S. P. 0. 


The most substantial of the expelled tenantry 
gathered their effects together and sailed to join 
their countrymen in the New World, where the 
Scotch-Irish became known as the most bitter of the 
secessionists. Between those who were too poor to 
emigrate, and the Catholics who were in possession of 
their homes, there grew a protracted feud, which took 
form at last in the conspiracy of the Peep of Day 
Boys ; in the fierce and savage expulsion of the in- 
truders, who were bidden go to hell or Connaught ; 
and in the counter-organization of the Catholic De- 
fenders, which spread over the whole island, and 
made the army of insurrection in 1798. It is rare 
that two private persons have power to create effects 
so considerable as to assist in dismembering an em- 
pire, and provoking a civil war. Lord Donegal for 
his services was rewarded with a marquisate, and 
Mr. Upton with a viscountcy. If rewards were 
proportioned to deserts, a fitter retribution to both 
of them would have been forfeiture and Tower Hill. 

A precedent so tempting and so lucrative was 
naturally followed. Other landlords finding the 
trade so profitable began to serve their tenants with 
notices to quit. The farmers and peasants com- 
bined to defend themselves. Where law was the 
servant of oppression, force was their one resource. 
They called themselves Hearts of Steel. Their object 
was to protect themselves from universal robbery. 
Their resistance was not against the Government — it 
was against the landlords and the landlords' agents, 
and nothing else. In the Viceroy they felt rightly 
that they had a friend, and they appealed to him in a 
modest petition. 



1 Petition of those persons known by the name of chap. 

Hearts of Steel. v, l ] ' _ 

1 That we are all Protestants and Protestant Dis- 1772 ' 
senters, and bear unfeigned loyalty to his present 
majesty and the Hanoverian succession. 

4 That we who are all groaning under oppression, 
and have no other possible way of redress, are forced 
to join ourselves together to resist. By oversetting our 
lands we are reduced to poverty and distress, and by 
our rising we mean no more but to have our lands, 
that we could live thereon, and procure necessaries 
of life for ourselves and our starving families. 

4 That some of us refusing to pay the extravagant 
rent demanded by our landlords have been turned 
out, and our lands given to Papists, who will promise 
any rent. 

4 That we are sorely aggrieved with the county 
cesses, which, though heavy in themselves, are ren- 
dered more so by being applied to private purposes. 

4 Yet lest it should be said that by refusing to pay 
the cess we fly in the face of the law, which we do 
not intend, we will pay the present cess; and we hope 
the gentlemen of the county of Down will in future 
have pity on the distressed inhabitants. 

' That it is not wanton folly that prompts us to 
be Hearts of Steel, but the weight of oppression. 
Were the cause removed the effects would cease, and 
our landlords as heretofore live in the affection of 
their tenants. 

4 May it please you to enquire into the cause of our 
grievances, and lend your hand to eschew the evils 
which seem to threaten the Protestants of the North ; 
and let not false suggestions of men partial to their 
own cause inflame your wrath against innocent and 



BOOK injured persons, who are far removed from the ear 

J. — * of Government and any other possible means of 

7 ' redress. Oh that the cry of the oppressed might 
reach the throne of Britain ! Our mild and gracious 
sovereign from his well-known goodness would 
extend his care to the suffering Protestants in the 
north of this kingdom. 

' By the Hearts of Steel.' 1 

Unjust laws provoke and compel resistance. Vio- 
lence follows, and crime and guilt; but the guilt, when 
the account is made up, does not lie entirely with the 
poor wretch who is called the criminal. The Hearts 
' of Steel destroyed the cattle and farmsteads of 
the intruding tenants. They attacked gentlemen's 
houses and lawyers' offices chiefly in search of deeds 
and leases ; of theft they were never accused. Ma- 
gistrates as usual would not act : they preferred to 
leave to the Government the odium of repressing riots 
of which they were themselves the cause. Juries, 
after the time-honoured fashion, refused to convict, 
and witnesses to give evidence. The Presbyterian 
clergy exerted themselves as no one else did, but 
they did not conceal their opinion that the people 
were in the right. 2 

Townshend saw the phenomena with eyes un- 

1 Irish MSS., 1772. S. P. 0. of many, who contribute to the op- 

2 Address of the Presbytery of pression by proposing for their neigh- 
Temple Patrick, forwarded by bours' possessions, by which means 
Townshend to London, with the they are too often deprived of the 
following passage underlined : — improvements made by their fore- 
4 Noio though we, the members of fathers and themselves, which may 
the Preslytery, cannot but lament be the occasion of the present ille- 
the heavy oppression that too many gal measure — yet we are convinced 
are tinder, from the excessive price that violence defeats its own ends/ 
of land, and the unfriendly practices &c. 



jaundiced. ; He was satisfied that the disturbances qhap. 
sprung from gross iniquity, and that they could be - — 1 i— 
cured only by the lenity of the proprietors, who, if lti "' 
they refused to let their lands on more moderate 
terms, would compel their tenants to go to America, 
or to any part of the world where they could receive 
the reward which was honestlv due to their labours.' 1 
The House of Commons thought differently. The 
gentry of the north petitioned for troops to defend 
them, and the House appointed a committee of 
enquiry. The facts were on the surface, and might 
have been comprehended without extreme effort of 
genius. The Protestants of Ireland were as one to 
four of the entire population. They were, as has 
been often said, a garrison set to maintain the law 
and the English connexion. The landlords in stupid 
selfishness were expelling their Protestant tenantry 
because Catholics promised them a larger rent. They 
were driving the verv flower of their own armv to a 
countrv which was alreadv on the edofe of rebellion, 
and uniting in sympathy with that rebellion their 
comrades who were left behind. An act of such 
obvious insanity might have been expected to be 
condemned on the instant by the united voices of the 
empire. The King saw the infatuation of it ; the 
English Cabinet saw the inconveniences of it. and the 
Viceroy the iniquity. The Irish Patriot House of 
Commons could see only an invasion of the rights of 
landlords. The Committee reported that the increase 
of rents demanded was not exorbitant. The Hearts 
of Steel by their resistance were dissolving the bonds 
of society. The disorders of Ulster required force to 

1 • Towaaliend to the Earl of Suffolk, March 21.' 



BOOK check them ; and since the northern juries refused to 

— V . do their duties, it was only necessary that prisoners 

1 ' ' 2 ' charged with a share in the riots should be tried in 
counties where they were unknown. In this spirit 
an Act was carried through Parliament. The Vice- 
roy was called on to employ the army to restore 
order, and General Gisborne was sent down with as 
many regiments as could be spared. 

General Gisborne executed his orders with modera- 
tion. He was received by the people as a friend. 
They had petitioned Parliament, they said, but Par- 
liament would not answer them. 4 The supreme 
Judge himself had at length looked upon their dis- 
tresses and excited them to commotion, £ to cause the 
landlords, on whom no mild means could prevail, to 
observe the pale faces and the thin clothing of the 
honest Protestant subjects who had enriched the 
country by their industry.' They submitted not to 
their masters, but to the English commander : they 
invited him to restore peace, not by killing them, 
but by remedying their wrongs. 1 Quiet was easily 
restored. The Hearts of Steel came of a race who 
had no love for riots ; and if redress was refused, they 
had a better resource than rebellion. The exactions 
had not been universal, and where attempted were 
not everywhere persevered in ; but mischief irretriev- 
able had been already done. The linen trade from 
other causes had entered on a period of stagnation, 
and the consequent distress gave an impetus to the 
emigration to the land of promise which assumed 
presently enormous proportions. 

Flights of Protestant settlers had been driven out 

1 Remonstrance of the ' Hearts of Steel/ enclosed by Townshend to 
Lord Suffolk, 1772. 



earlier in the century by the idiotcy of the bishops, chap. 
Fresh multitudes now winged their way to join . — ?i — 
theni, and in no tender mood towards the institutions 1 ' i2 ' 
under which they had been so cruelly dealt with. 
The House of Commons had backed up the landlords. 
The next year they had to hear from the Linen Board 
that ' many thousands of the best manufacturers and 
weavers with their families had gone to seek their 
bread in America, and that thousands were preparing 
to follow.' Again a committee was appointed to 
enquire. This time the blame was laid on England, 
which had broken the linen compact, given bounties 
to the Lancashire millowners which Belfast was not 
allowed to share, and ' in jealousy of Irish manu- 
factures ' had laid duties on Irish sail cloth, con- 
trary to express stipulation. The accusation, as the 
reader knows, was true. Religious bigotry, com- 
mercial jealousy, and modern landlordism had com- 
bined to do their worst against the Ulster settle- 
ment. The emigration was not the whole of the 
mischief. Those who went carried their arts and 
their tools along with them, and at the rate at which 
the stream was flowing the colonies would soon 
have no need of British and Irish imports. In the 
two years which followed the Antrim evictions, thirty 
thousand Protestants left Ulster for a land where there 
was no legal robbery, and where those who sowed the 
seed could reap the harvest. They went with bitter- 
ness in their hearts, cursing and detesting the 
aristocratic system of which the ennobling qualities 
were lost, and only the worst retained. The south 
and west were caught by the same movement, and 
ships could not be found to carry the crowds who 
were eager to go. 4 The emigration was not only 



eook depriving Ireland of its manufactures, but of the 
V , sinews of its trade.' 4 Rich yeomen with their old 

1772, leases expired' refused to renew them in a country 
where they were to live at other men's mercy, and 
departed with their families and their capital. Pro- 
testant settlements which had lingered through the 
century now almost disappeared. Bandon, Tullamore, 
Athlone, Kilbeggan,and many other places once almost 
exclusively English and Scotch, were abandoned to 
the priests and the Celts. 1 Pitiable and absurd story, 
on the face of which was written madness ! 

Industry deliberately ruined by the commercial 
jealousy of England ; the country abandoned to 
anarchy by the scandalous negligence of English 
statesmen ; idle absentee magnates forgetting that 
duty had a meaning, and driving their tenants into 
rebellion and exile ; resident gentry wasting their 
substance in extravagance, and feeding their riot 
by wringing the means of it out of the sweat of the 
poor ; a Parliament led by patriots, whose love of 
country meant but the art to embarrass Government, 
and wrench from it the spoils of office ; Govern- 
ment escaping from its difficulties by lavishing 
gold which, like metallic poison, destroyed the self- 
respect and wrecked the character of those who 
stooped to take it ; the working members of the com- 
munity, and the worthiest part of it, flying from a soil 
where some fatal enchantment condemned to failure 
every effort made for its redemption — such was the 
fair condition of the Protestant colony planted in 
better days to show the Irish the fruits of a nobler 
belief than their own, and the industrial virtues of a 

1 'Report of the Committee of the House of Commons as to Emi- 
gration, 1774.' — Commons' Journals. 



nobler race ! Who can wonder that English rule in chap. 
Ireland has become a byeword? who can wonder » . 11 _ 
that the Celts failed to recognise a superiority which 
had no better result to show for itself ? 

We lay the fault on the intractableness of the race. 
The modern Irishman is of no race, so blended now 
is the blood of Celt and Dane, Saxon and Norman, 
Scot and Frenchman. The Irishman of the last cen- 
tury rose to his natural level whenever he was 
removed from his own unhappy country. In the 
Seven Years' War Austria's best generals were 
Irishmen. Brown was an Irishman; Lacy was an 
Irishman ; O'Donnell's name speaks for him ; and 
Lally Tollendal, who punished England at Fontenoy. 
was O'Mullally of Tollendally. Strike the names 
of Irishmen out of our own public service, and we 
lose the heroes of our proudest exploits — we lose the 
"Wellesleys. the Pallisers, the Moores, the Eyres, the 
Cootes, the Napiers ; we lose half the officers and 
half the privates who conquered India for us. and 
fought our battles in the Peninsula. What the Irish 
could do as enemies we were about to learn when the 
Ulster exiles crowded to the standard of AVashinoton. 
What they can be even at home we know at this pre- 
sent hour, when, under exceptional discipline as police, 
they are at once the most sorely tempted and the 
most nobly faithful of all subjects of the British race. 

1 Bealms without justice.' said Henry the Eighth 
long ago. writing of the same Ireland which is still an 
unsolved problem, 'be but tyrannies and robories 
more consonaunt to beastly appetites than to the 
laudable liff of reasonable creatures.' 1 AVhen England 

1 1 Henry VILE, to the Earl of Surrey/ — State Papers, vol. ii. p. 52. 


learns to prefer realities to forms, when she recog- 
nises once for all, that having taken possession of 
Ireland for her own purposes, she is bound before God 
and man to make the laws obeyed there, and to deal 
justly between man and man, disaffection and dis- 
content will disappear, and Ireland will cease to be a 
reproach ; but the experiment remains to be tried, 





Lord Townshend had spoken of endeavours to unite chap. 


the popular party in Ireland and America. There « — r— 
were good reasons why at that moment these two 
countries should be of peculiar interest to one 
another. Ireland was but a colony of longer 
standing, and the Americans saw a picture there 
of the condition to which an English colony could 
be reduced in which the mother country had her 
own way. Their trade was already exclusively in 
English hands. In a little while they too might 
have an established church, interfering with* liberty 
of conscience ; their farms, which they had cleared 
and clothed with corn and orchards, might be 
claimed by landlords. The Scotch- Irish emigrants 
especially had their suspicions on the alert, whose 
grievances were more recent, and whose bitter feel- 
ings were kept alive by the continued arrivals from 
Ulster. None of the Transatlantic settlers had more 
cause to complain, for none had deserved so well of 
the country from which they had been driven. The 
Protestant settlers in Ireland at the beginning of 
the 17th century were of the same metal with 
those who afterwards sailed in the ' May Flower' — 




BOOK Presbyterians, Puritans, Independents, in search of 
v / , wider breathing space than was allowed them at home. 
By an unhappy perversity they had fallen under the 
same stigma and were exposed to the same inconveni- 
ences. The bishops had chafed them with persecutions. 
The noble lords and gentlemen of the Anglo-Irish com- 
munion looked askance at them as republicans. The 
common sufferings of all orders of Protestants in 
1G41 failed to teach the madness of divisions in so 
small a body; the heroism with which the Scots held 
the northern province against the Kilkenny Parlia- 
ment and Owen Eoe O'Neil was an insufficient offset 
against the sin of nonconformity. The conquest of 
Ireland was achieved finally by the armies of the Com- 
monwealth, and Leinster and Munster were occupied 
by Cromwell's troopers as an armed industrial garrison. 
The shadow which fell on Puritanism at the Restora- 
tion once more blighted the new colonies. The soldiers 
of the Protector changed their swords into plough- 
shares, repaired the desolation of the civil war, and in a 
few years so changed the face of Ireland, that the growth 
of prosperity there stirred the jealousy of Lancashire. 
Nonconformity was still a stain for which no other 
excellence could atone. The persecutions were re- 
newed, but did not cool Presbyterian loyalty. When 
the native race made their last effort under J ames the 
Second to recover their lands, the Calvinists of Derry 
won immortal honour for themselves, and flung over 
the wretched annals of their adopted country a soli- 
tary gleam of true glory. Even this passed for no- 
thing. They were still Dissenters, still unconscious 
that they owed obedience to the hybrid successors of 
St. Patrick, the prelates of the Establishment ; and 
no sooner was peace re-established than spleen and 



bigotry were again at their old work. William had chap. 
-so far recognized their merits as to bestow on their « — ^i— 
ministers a small annual grant. Vexed with suits in 
the ecclesiastical courts, forbidden to educate their 
children in their own faith, treated as dangerous to a 
state which but for them would have had no exist- 
ence, and associated with Papists in an Act of Par- 
liament which deprived them of their civil rights, the 
most earnest of them at length abandoned the un- 
thankful service. They saw at last that the liberties 
for which thev and their fathers had fought were not 
to be theirs in Ireland. If they intended to live as 
freemen, speaking no lies, and professing openly 
the creed of the Reformation, they must seek a 
country where the long arm of prelacy was still too 
short to reach them. During the first half of the 
eighteenth century, Down. Antrim, Tyrone, Armagh, 
and Derry were emptied of Protestant inhabitants, 
who were of more value to Ireland than Californian 
gold mines ; while the scattered colonies of the south, 
denied chapels of their own, and, if they did not wish 
to be atheists or Papists, offered the alternative of 
conformity or departure, took the Government at 
their word and melted away. 

As the House of Hanover grew firmer in its seat, 
the High Church party declined in power, and dis- 
sent as such ceased to be visited with active penal- 
ties. The Test Act was not repealed. The municipal 
offices were still monopolized by members of the 
Establishment. The State continued to insist on 
conformity as a condition of employment, military or 
civil. But the Ulster Presbyterians were saved by 
the exclusion from being tainted by the universal 
corruption. Their numbers were repaired with the 

K 2 



BOOK growth of the linen trade. They were frugal and 
— r — ■ industrious ; their looms and their flax fields pros- 
pered with them. Emigration slackened, and the 
Protestant population had again become an im- 
portant feature in the community, when the ab- 
sentee landlords cast their eyes on the wealth which 
had been silently created, and, in an evil hour, put 
out their hands to seize it. At once the outflow of 
Protestants recommenced under changed and far 
more dangerous conditions. A large commerce had 
grown up between Belfast and the American planta- 
tions. Relations long separated renewed their ties. 
Intercourse brought exchange of thought, comparison 
of grievances, and common schemes of redress. The 
pulses of the industrial classes in the two countries 
began to beat in perilously earnest sympathy. 

One lesson especially the mother country had never 
ceased to impress upon her colonies, that they existed 
not for their own sakes, but for hers. Overlooking 
the circumstances out of which they took their real 
origin, she regarded them as created by herself, as 
outlets for her own productions. They were strictly 
forbidden to trade with any countries but England 
and Ireland, or ship their cargoes in any but English 

To these conditions the American colonies had 
hitherto submitted, as the price of English protec- 
tion. Their ports were small, the population sparse 
and generally consisting of farmers, and the articles 
which they most needed England could best supply. 
Left to themselves, they might have been worried by 
Spam, and, perhaps, invaded and conquered by 

Lord Chatham had made an end of French rivalry. 



The Americans shared the glory of a war of which chap. 

the benefit was so largely theirs. Twenty-four thou- - 

sand colonists had assisted England to conquer Canada. 
Four hundred American privateers had driven the 
French from the coast and the lakes. The war had 
left England with a debt of 148 millions. It was 
suggested at the Peace of Paris that the colonies 
should contribute something towards the interest of it, 
and the colonists did not dispute their equitable 
liability. Had Pitt been still in power, some arrange- 
ment might perhaps have been successfully attempted. 
Grenville's less delicate hand provoked the first dis- 
pute. He suggested in 1764 the extension of the 
stamp duty to America, under the authority of the 
English Parliament. From authority to impose a tax 
the step to despotism was short, and, it was feared, 
certain. When once the consent of the taxpayer, 
through his representative, was held unnecessary, no 
second barrier remained. 

America remonstrated, not violently, for she offered 
to find a substitute ; but she stood out upon the 
principle. Grenville and Charles Townshend stood 
upon principle as well. In 1765, in spite of caution 
from wiser heads, the colonial stamp duty was im- 
posed by Parliament ; Charles Townshend, talking 
of 1 our American children planted by our care, nou- 
rished by our indulgence, now fitly contributing to 
the necessities of the State.' 1 They planted b}^ your 
care ! ' Colonel Barre replied; 'your oppression planted 
them. They nourished by your indulgence ! they 
grew by your neglect of them/ Both positions were 
true. But for Anglican bishops there would have 
been no Puritan exiles. But for Pitt, America 
would have been French. The remembrance of wrong 



BOOK is longer lived than gratitude for benefits received. 
Virginia resisted. New England resisted. Congresses, 
met, and drew declarations of colonial rights. The 
Stamp Act was disobeyed ; business went on as if the 
Act did not exist ; and in the following year, being 
obviously useless, it was abandoned. The Act re- 
pealing it, however, reasserted the right of England to 
tax the colonies, if she pleased to exercise that right;, 
and the provincial Legislature of New York, which 
had given special offence, was suspended, as an 
admonition to the rest. 

America having secured the substance of the vic- 
tory, did not quarrel about words. So long as the 
claim was not enforced, it was harmless. The colo- 
nists did not anticipate a renewal of the experiment; 
but England had been touched in her pride. In 1767 
Charles Townshend brought the question to an issue 
once more. A Stamp Act could be evaded without 
serious inconvenience. Customs duties being levied 
at the ports could be evaded only by a refusal to 
consume the articles on which they were imposed. 
A small tax, just sufficient to try the principle, was 
laid on glass, paper, and tea. The Massachusetts 
Chambers passed a resolution that these duties should 
not be levied. Being required to rescind a vote which 
was held an act of rebellion, they re-affirmed it by a 
majority of 92 to 17. Ships of war were sent out, with 
a couple of regiments. Boston decided to arm in 
opposition ; and the colonies generally, following Irish 
precedent, came to a common resolution that they 
would import nothing of any kind from England till 
the duties were abandoned. To the restriction of 
their commerce they had submitted. The sea might 
be part of the British dominions. Taxation they 



would not submit to while they were unrepresented chap. 
in the British Parliament. — i^i: — 

Half alarmed, half exasperated, the English Govern- 
ment took a middle course, and the worst which they 
could have chosen. They abandoned the duties on 
glass and paper; they retained a nominal tea duty. 
Had they tried force at once, they might have crushed 
the colonies in detail, and for a time have broken 
them down. Had they made a frank surrender, the 
colonies for a time also would have refrained from 
raising the question of separation. They maintained 
the cause of the irritation; they took no active steps 
to compel obedience. Ill-feeling grew rapidly. Bloody 
riots broke out in Boston between the garrison and 
the citizens. For four years, through the thirteen 
colonies, in town and village, tea, which had become 
a necessary of life, disappeared from the breakfast- 
table. At length the decrease of consumption having 
created a glut in the East Indian warehouses, and as 
it was supposed that by this time the colonists would 
be weary of the strife, it was determined to tempt their 
constancy with a supply of the coveted luxury at a 
price which, not^vithstanding the duty, was still lower 
than Americans had ever paid for it before. 

The tea ships generally were prevented from 1773. 
making their way into the American harbours, or 
else were sent back without being allowed to unload. 
A ship which entered Boston harbour was less fortu- 
nate. A party of men. disguised as Mohawk Indians 
in their war-paint, stole on board one midnight, 
overpowered the crew, burst the chests open, and 
emptied them into the sea. 

Struck thus in the face, England lost its temper 1774, 



book and its prudence. The port of Boston was declared 
■ _ v ,' -> to be closed until the tea was paid for. The Massa- 
1774# chusetts charter was recalled, and, by a new consti- 
tution, the colony was placed under the Government 
of Quebec. General Gage was sent out in haste with 
reinforcements, attended by a squadron, to take charge 
of the harbour. He landed on the 13th of May, took 
military possession of the town, and fortified the penin- 
sula to which it was then confined. The colonial 
Legislature, not recognizing the dissolution, assem- 
bled a few miles off at Concord, organized a separate 
administration, and called the settlers to arms. All 
down the seaboard to the Carolinas the alarm spread 
of danger to liberty. If Massachusetts was over- 
whelmed, each state knew that its own turn would 
follow. A Congress met at Philadelphia. The de- 
puties of thirteen states agreed that they would pay 
no taxes, direct or indirect, to which their consent 
had not been asked. They stood by their non-import- 
ation agreement. The}^ appealed to the British 
nation, and to Britain's Sovereign and theirs. To the 
British people they said, 4 Place us as we were when 
the war ended, and we shall be satisfied.' To the King 
they said that in peace they cost Great Britain no- 
thing ; in war they had contributed hitherto to the 
imperial expenses, and would continue to contribute: 
they asked nothing but that their rights under the 
constitution should not be invaded. 
1775. Dr. Franklin, who had been long in England, and 
was personally intimate with many of the chief Eng- 
lish statesmen, took charge of the address to the 
Crown. He was leaning on the bar of the House of 
Lords when- the question was debated in that assem- 
bly whether he should be allowed to present it. At 



that great crisis in his country's future, Chatham CHAP, 
came once more to the front. <. nL _ 

Si Pergama dextra 1775. 
Defendi possent etiam hac defensa fuissent. 

Chatham's name was honoured in America beyond 
that of every other Englishman. He insisted on the 
madness or the wickedness of using force in an un- 
natural quarrel. America was willing to admit the 
supremacy of the Imperial Parliament. America 
would not refuse to contribute of her own accord for 
the interest of the war debts. England must meet 
her with a frank confession that if she was to be taxed, 
her own consent was necessary ; that it was unlawful 
to employ the army to destroy the rights of the 
people ; the port at Boston must be thrown open 
again, and Gage and his troops must be recalled. 

So advised the greatest of living Englishmen, who 
had raised his country to the proudest eminence 
which she had attained since the death of the Pro- 
tector. But Lord North and his Cabinet desired to 
be thought better patriots than Chatham. Lord 
Sandwich moved that Chatham's propositions could 
not be entertained. Glancing at Eranklin, he said 
that he had in his eye the person by whom they had 
been drawn — the most mischievous and bitterest 
enemy the country had ever known. 

Franklin could not answer, but Chatham did. 
His words were his own, he said. He had given 
the House his own opinion ; but had he needed help, 
he would not have been ashamed of asking it ' from 
one whom all Europe esteemed, who was an honour 
not to the English nation onlv, but to human nature.' 
The House of Lords went with Sandwich, and de- 
termined by a great majority that the colonists should 



book be taught their duties. The Cabinet felt more un- 

^ — ' certainty than they confessed. Private conferences 

1 ' 75 * were held with Franklin ; and Franklin, to whom, as 
to those by whom he was employed, a dismemberment 
of the empire was no trifling thing to be rushed after 
with foolish haste, was most earnest to suggest means 
by which the catastrophe could be averted. He 
undertook that the tea should be paid for ; and that the 
colonies should contribute to war expenses. If Eng- 
land would relinquish her monopolies and give them 
free trade, they would contribute in peace. On the 
other hand, as Chatham had said, the duties must be 
abandoned and the troops be withdrawn. The Imperial 
Parliament must disclaim a right to legislate for the 
internal regulation of the colonies, and the cancelled 
charter must be restored to Massachusetts. 

To most of these conditions Lord North was ready 
to agree. The negociation went otf upon a point of 
honour. All else might be conceded, but England 
could not humble herself before Massachusetts. At all 
risks the new Constitution must be upheld. For 
this feather terms infinitely more favourable than we 
now dare demand from our remaining dependencies 
were idly rejected. Franklin carried back the news 
that he had failed, and a new page was turned in the 
history of mankind. 

Both sides had paused upon their arms till the answer 
came. Debate was then over. It was now for action to 
decide between them. The Massachusetts Congress had 
employed the winter in collecting stores at Concord. 
Gage finding the issue to be war, resolved on dealing 
a vigorous blow. On the night of the 18th of April 
he despatched Colonel Smith with 800 grenadiers to 
destroy the magazines. Concord is twenty miles 


from Boston. Lexington is a village on the road a chap. 
few miles short of it. In Lexington Street, at five in - . m ' _ 
the morning of the 19th, a party of Massachusetts 
militia were assembled, uncertain (as before the first 
blood is shed in a civil war, men always are uncertain) 
what they were precisely to do. The troops settled 
the question by firing on them. They scattered. 
Colonel Smith went on, accomplished his work, and 
was again returning on the same road when he found 
the houses in Lexington, and the walls and hedges 
outside it, lined with riflemen. The soldiers, tired 
with a thirty-mile march and encumbered with their 
knapsacks, found themselves received with a close 
and deadly fire from practised marksmen. Their 
enemies were country farmers and farm servants, 
trained as hunters in the woods, and light of foot as 
they were skilful in aim. They would have been 
destroyed without a chance of defending themselves, 
had not Gage, who had heard of what had passed 
in the morning, sent forward reinforcements. Fresh 
troops arriving on the scene drove the Americans 
off, and the shattered grenadiers reached Boston at 
simset with a loss of nearly half their strength. 

The effect of the battle of Lexington was to en- 
close the British within the lines of the city. The 
head-quarters of the Americans were pushed forward 
to Cambridge, four miles only outside all the walls, and 
Gage's communications with the country were wholly 
cut off. The inglorious investment it was thought 
could be but of short duration. Regiments were 
pouring in from England. General Howe arrived 
at the beginning of the summer, and decided t- 1 
give the colonists a decisive lesson without loss of 
time. The Peninsula of Charlestown is divided 



BfooK from that of Boston Proper by six hundred yards of 
water which are now bridged over. The Charlestown 

1775, ridge ascends with a gentle slope from the shore, com- 
manding the harbour and the city opposite. The 
highest points of it, known as Breed's Hill and 
Bunker's Hill, are nearly two hundred feet above the 
sea. The Americans pushing forward from Cambridge 
had entrenched themselves on the brow of this ridge. 
They had brought up cannon which distressed the 
ships in the harbour, and threw shot into the army 
quarters in the town. The entire American force 
amounted to no more than 1,500 men, and those 
only untrained militia. Such a body was thought 
unable to resist even for a moment a superior number 
of regular troops. On the 17th of June Sir William 
Howe crossed over with 3,000 men to drive them off. 
Covered by a heavy fire from the guns of the fleet, 
he advanced with easy confidence. The Americans 
waited till the English were close upon their lines, and 
then poured in a fire so deadly that they reeled back- 
wards down the hill in astonished confusion. They 
rallied rapidly, again charged, and again retired 
before the tremendous reception which they encoun- 
tered. Determined to win the hill or die, they rushed 
up a last time and plunged over the breastwork ; and 
then, but only then, and at leisure and in good order, 
the Massachusetts farmers withdrew. That one sum- 
mer afternoon's work had cost the British army more 
than eleven hundred men, of whom ninety were 
officers. Sir William Howe might have said, like 
Pyrrhus, that a few more such victories would end the 
dream of the conquest of America. 

And who and what were these provincial militia 
who had given the soldiers of England so rude a 



lesson? Most of them, no doubt, were descendants chap. 
of the ancient Puritan stock, reinforced from the old 
country from time to time by men who had the same lt ' fK 
quarrel as their fathers with the constituted au- 
thorities in Church and State. 

But throughout the revolted colonies, and, therefore, 
probably in the first to begin the struggle, all evidence 
shows that the foremost, the most irreconcilable, the 
most determined in pushing the quarrel to the last ex- 
tremity, were the Scotch Irish whom the bishops 
and Lord Donegal and Company had been pleased 
to drive out of Ulster. ' It is a fact beyond 
question/ says Plowden, 4 that most of the early 
successes in America were immediately owing to the 
vigorous exertions and prowess of the Irish emigrants 
who bore arms in that cause.' 1 Eamsay says the 
Irish in America were almost to a man on the side of 
Independence. ' They had fled from oppression in 
their native country, and could not brook the idea 
that it should follow them. Their national prepos- 
sessions in favour of liberty were strengthened by 
their religious opinions. They were Presbyterians, 
and therefore mostly Whigs.' 2 

There is a Bunker's Hill 3 close outside Belfast. 
^Ifissachusetts tradition has forgotten how the name 
came to the Chariest own Peninsula. It is possible 
that the connection with Ireland is a coincidence. 
It is possible that the name of a spot so memorable 
in American history was brought over by one of those 

1 Plowden, vol. ii. p. 178. Captain Brunker was an officer who 

~ History of the American IZevo- came to Ulster with Lord Essex in 

lution, p. 597. 1572, and received a grant of land 

3 Bunker's Hill is supposed to be in Antrim. 

a corruption of Brunker's Hill. 


exiles, whose children saw there the beginning of 
the retribution that followed on the combination of 
follies which had destroyed the chance of making Ire- 
land a Protestant country, and had filled Protestant 
Ulster with passionate sympathy for the revolted 




George the Third had intended to end corrnp- chap. 
tion in the Irish Parliament. The effect of Lord - . m " 
Townshend's efforts had been to make it more 
corrupt than before. "Where the laws by which a 
country is to be governed depend on the voices of 
representatives, and where these representatives ac- 
knowledge no motive but private interest, bribery is 
the only method by which the administration can 
be carried on. The House of Commons had been 
controlled hitherto by an oligarchy, who shared the 
patronage of Ireland among them as if it had been 
a family inheritance. The Viceroy, with the assist- 
ance of the rank and file, had wrested the public 
offices out of the hands of the men who had preyed 
on the revenue so lorn? and so systematically; 
but he had bought his victory by borrowing his 
adversaries' weapons, making office the reward of 
Parliamentary subserviency : and when preferments 
could not be had to feed the voracity of his sup- 
porters, he had added further to the bloated Pen- 
sion List. Success so purchased can be continued 
only by the means by which it has been obtained. 
The interesting lords and gentlemen who constituted 
the two Houses of the Irish Legislature understood 
the value of their assistance from the Viceroy's 
eagerness to secure it. Those who had sold their 
votes for a single measure or group of measures were 
like the possessors of some fatal secret, whom a 
person afraid of disclosure has been rash enough to 



BOOB bribe to silence. The claimants for Crown favour 
— ^ — - could not all be satisfied, but neglect to satisfy them 

i r- — £\ " 

brought immediate retribution. Townshend's ma- 
jorities dwindled, and at length disappeared. With 
disgust he drew out the list of the traitors who had 
disowned their obligations. He found he could rely 
on them no more, and in despairing contempt he fell 
back on the most powerful of the aristocracy whom 
he had defeated. Lord Shannon returned with a 
smile to the assistance of a Viceroy who had been 
the victim of a delusion that Ireland could be honour- 
ably governed by a Parliament of its own. The 
Opposition was disarmed, and Ponsonby was obliged 
to part with his hope of driving the Viceroy in dis- 
grace from the country. 

Townshend, however, was himself disinclined to 
bear longer a burden which had become hateful to 
him. For four years he had been attempting a task 
which it was impossible to accomplish. He petitioned 
to be allowed to resign, and his request was granted. 
He retired with the thanks and compliments of the 
Parliament, his relations with which had undergone 
such strange vicissitudes. He left behind him one 
work, though one work only, of permanent improve- 
ment. His new Revenue Board was soon abandoned 
to clamour. But the great families were no longer 
allowed to abuse the authority of the Crown under 
the name of Lords Justices. The Viceroy of Ireland 
was henceforth to be resident through his term of 
office, unless for brief intervals and on unforeseen 

Townshend's successor was a nobleman the very 
reverse of himself in every feature of intellect and 
temperament. Townshend was energetic, brilliant, 



and in the prime of his years, and Harcourt was over chap. 
sixty, decorous, dignified, inured by habit to the -_ IIL 
inanities of Courts, with views generally honourable, 14 
but pursuing them with languor, with the smallest 
imaginable insight into Ireland and its conditions, and 
with an indolent cunning in the place of statesmanship. 
He had been for nine years tutor to the King before his 
accession. He had negociated the alliance but ween 
his master and the Princess Charlotte. He would 
have passed as no more than an ornamental lay figure 
through a life which he ended strangely by falling 
down a well at Xuneham, except for his Irish vice- 
royalty, which falling to him at an unlucky time 
brought his figure into distinct visibility. 

With Lord Harcourt came a satellite very far more 
interesting than his primary, the Secretary, John de 
Blaquiere, himself a Colonel of Dragoons, descendant 
from a Huguenot family, who had come to England 
at the beginning of the century. De Blaquiere's 
character will reveal itself in the progress of the 
story. To Lord North he writes with a confiden- 
tial familiarity which shows that they were on terms 
of closest intimacy. He describes himself in one of 
his letters to Lord Xorth as c your threadpaper friend,' 
which, perhaps, sufficiently expresses his appearance. 

Like his predecessor, the new Viceroy was directed 
; absolutely to discourage all applications for pensions, 
salaries, and offices, for new peerages, or advance- 
ment of peers already existing to higher titles;' to 
prohibit 1 the sale of offices or employments, notwith- 
standing the present proprietor may have purchased 
the same.' 1 The era of purity was at last to begin. 

1 ' Rochford to Lord Harcourt. October 26, 1772. Secret and con- 




book Lord Harcourt landed at Eingsend on the 30th of 
< November, 1772, with a year of quiet still before 

1 "~- him, Parliament not meeting till the beginning of the 
following autumn. A week later Townshend left 
Dublin amidst general acclamations, Harcourt being, as 
he confessed, glad to be rid 4 of his rather overpowering 
presence.' For himself he described his prospects as 
most flattering. The Duke of Leinster, to mark his 
delight at the change, wrote to him most affection- 
ately. Kildare stood at his side in the viceregal box 
the first evening on which he was at the play. Shan- 
non was ' most polite.' John Ponsonby had been at 
the levee, 'perhaps determined by Lord Shannon.' 
Flood had been there also, indicating that he was 
not unwilling to be taken into service. It appeared 
that Flood, the most eloquent and passionate of 
Townshend's opponents, had already been feeling his 
way towards employment with Lord Frederick Camp- 
bell, Townshend's secretary. Campbell had mocked 
him with promises which had been left unfulfilled. 
Like so many of his countrymen, his chief ambition 
was to hold office under the rule which he affected 
to execrate, but he was wary of being again deceived. 1 
The compliments of the reception being over, the 
realities followed. The noble lords were well dis- 
posed, but on their own conditions. A few days after 
the new Viceroy's arrival, Lord Shannon asked for a 
private interview, to submit as usual the terms on 
which the Government might have his support. 

1 Harcourt, writing afterwards to been treated extremely ill by Lord 

Lord North, said that Flood told Frederick Campbell in Lord Towns- 

him that ' he had been determined hend's time.'— 1 Harcourt to Lord 

never more to have any dealings North, July 8, 1774. Most private 

with the Castle, that paid so little and confidential.' 
regard to engagements. He had 



Two of the St. Legers, it will be remembered, were chap. 
claimants for the Doneraile title. Townshend, after - _ IIL _ 
playing with both, had recommended one of them, 
though the decision had been postponed. Shannon 
recommended the other, who was his own cousin. Mr. 
St. Leger St. Leger must be created Lord Doneraile. 
Mr. Denham Jephson, of Mallow, must have a pen- 
sion of 600/. a year. Mr. Lysaght must be governor 
of Cork, with the rank of major-general. Mr. James 
Dennis, M.P. for Youghal, must be Prime Sergeant, 
or Attorney or Solicitor-General, whichever office 
should first fall vacant. 1 Mr. Townshend, m'ember 
for Cork, must be a Commissioner of the Revenue ; 
and the Dean of Cork must have a bishopric on the 
first opportunity. 

Lord Shannon, the Viceroy wrote, L was extremely 
candid and explicit.' He went to the point without 
circumlocution. His ultimate attitude was to depend 
on the treatment which he received ; but he promised 
at any rate to stand by Government for one session. 
The Viceroy 1 pleaded hard ' ' for 400/. a year for Mr. 
Jephson, but Lord Shannon said he could not pre- 
vail on Mr. Jephson to accept less than 600/.' c Lord 
Shannon/ Harcourt concluded, ' is very powerful, and 
it may be well to secure his support.' 

While the Viceroy was being introduced to the 
mysteries of corruption, his secretary, Colonel de 
Blaquiere, was passing through an ordeal of a 
more fiery kind. The secretary being the channel 
through which applications for favours generally 
passed, Irish society was anxious to learn the quali- 
fications of the new arrival. Mr. Beauchamp Bagenal, 

1 Dennis was made Prime Sergeant in 1774. 
l 2 

1 is 


book member for Carlow, a notorious duellist, with a re- 
putation almost European, wrote to De Blaquiere for 

17 " j - leave of absence for a relation who was with his re- 
giment in America. De Blaquiere replied politely 
that to give leave to officers on service did not lie 
within the Viceroy's province. To his extreme sur- 
prise, Bagenal instantly challenged him. When Irish 
gentlemen made requests they were to be granted. 
Inability was no answer. De Blaquiere understood 
the situation in a moment. He had no knowledge of 
his lire -eating antagonist, nor had he dreamt of offend- 
ing hirn; but in compliance with the universal sen- 
timent of the whole kingdom, he saw that he must 
acquiesce. They met the next morning at the thorn- 
trees in the Phoenix, the usual trysting place. At 
Mr. Bagenal' s request, they were placed 4 nearer than 
usual.' De Blaquiere fired in the air. His adversary 
took a deliberate aim ; his pistol missed fire ; he re- 
cocked it a second and again a third time, with the 
same result. De Blaquiere advised him to look at his 
flint. He rapped the edge of it with a key, and 
drew the trigger once more, but once more unsuc- 

' At the colonel's request Mr. Bagenal then changed 
his flint.' This time the pistol went off, the ball pass- 
ing through the colonel's hat and grazing his temple. 
De Blaquiere took his second pistol, and was about 
to fire in the air again. Bagenal graciously insisted 
that he should aim at him. De Blaquiere said he had 
no quarrel with Mr. Bagenal, and could not think of 
it. Mr. Bagenal ' behaved with great politeness 
and intrepidity,' entreating that the colonel would 
not refuse him the honour of, &c. &c. It was in vain. 
De Blaquiere would not do him the honour at all. 



Bagenal would have made a new quarrel of it, but chap. 
the seconds interfered. It was agreed that De Bla- ^J 1 ,': ... 
quiere had behaved 'astonishingly well ' The affair i '" > ' 
ended, and the colonel was the most popular secre - 
tary that had ever held office in Dublin. 1 

Preliminaries over, it was now time for business. 
Townshend's operations in Parliament had been 
frightfully costly. The Treasury was 300,000^. in 
arrear. The revenue was falling off, owing to the stop- 
page of the colonial trade. The expenditure seemed 
to admit of no reduction, except in the Pension List, 
but in this direction there was small likelihood of re- 
form. The King was alive to the impropriety of 
granting pensions in Ireland, but was less scrupulous 
with his own relations. North, with acknowledged 
reluctance, had to inform Lord Harcourt that the King 
had determined to place the Queen of Denmark 
on the Irish establishment. 2 It had been found neces- 
sary to suspend all payments except to the army. 
Some provision must be made before the meeting of 
Parliament. From the earliest times Irish patriotism 
had clamoured against the absentees. Popularity 
might be acquired, the revenue might be increased, 
and a real injury brought in the way of redress, if 
the remarkable lords and gentlemen who had for 
generations been receiving their incomes for duties 
unperformed were to be made to choose between 
residence and parting with a tenth of their spoils to 
the State. The remaining nine-tenths they might 
still keep to themselves. 

Lord North gave his cordial approval. The cen- 
tral fountain of Irish misery had been for the moment 

1 ' Lord Harcourt to the Earl of 2 'Lord North to Harcourt, March 
Rochford, March 4, 1773.' 29, 1773. Most secret.' 



BOOK recognised by him. Those in whose behalf the land 

. V — of Ireland had been taken from its owners to provide 

177 better government for the people, had forgotten as 
much as if it had never existed, that any such obliga- 
tion attached to them. A faint far off glimmer of the 
truth had broken upon an English Prime Minister. 
As there was no land tax in Ireland, the absentees, 
in fact, contributed nothing for those vast possessions 
of theirs. It was time to call upon them. 

The tax was to have been proposed as a Govern- 
ment measure at the autumn Irish session. Unluckily 
the design leaked out prematurely, and was received 
in England with a shout of indignation. Great Eng- 
lish noblemen conceived apparently that they did 
Ireland too much honour already in consenting to 
own part of her soil. The Duke of Devonshire, Lord 
Bessborough, Lord Rockingham, Lord Fitzwilliam, 
and Fitzpatrick of Upper Ossory, entered an ironical 
protest. 1 They had estates in England as well as 
in Ireland,' they said. 4 They could not reside on 
both, and they were not to be punished for exercising 
their natural right to reside where they pleased/ 
In davs when high offices of State were held as 
sinecures, when pluralism was permitted in the 
Church, and duties w^ere held adequately discharged 
when one man did the work and another received 
the pay for it, landlords might naturally be surprised 
when brought to account so sharply. ' I hear,' wrote 
Lord North, 4 that Lord Shelburne and some others 
declare that a Minister deserves to be impeached 
who advises his majesty to return such a bill to 
Ireland. Lord Mansfield has told some of the 
Cabinet in confidence that he thinks we are in a 
scrape, from which he would advise us to get out as 



soon as possible. If way is given to this measure, chap. 
we may expect similar proposals from all our colo- IIL _ 
nies, who will be earnest to load with impositions 1 ' ' ' j - 
such of their countrymen as prefer to reside in Great 
Britain. 7 

4 Notwithstanding the clamour,' Lord North said 
he was prepared to stand by his proposition on cer- 
tain conditions. The Absentee Tax was part of a 
general scheme, by which Townshend's reforms were 
to be made permanent realities, and the Irish revenue, 
especially the hereditary branch of it, was to be 
protected from peculation. This must be the work 
of the Irish Parliament, and if fairly taken up and 
carried through, would enable him to encounter 
Lord Shelburne and his friends' displeasure. 

But 4 nothing less,' he said, 4 than consenting to 
the whole, can enable us to stand the odium of as- 
senting to so Anti- British a measure. We must be 
able to say we found Ireland 400,000/. in debt, and 
running annually 120.000/. in arrears ; that a plan 
was sent over by the Irish Parliament which would 
provide for the debt, and render the income for the 
future equal to the establishment ; that the tax on 
absentees was so blended with the rest of the plan, 
that whatever we might think of it separately, we 
could not resist it without risking the whole. If the 
Irish gentlemen adopt your proposals, I for one shall 
be ready to meet all this noise and clamour.' 1 

Lord Xorth was really in earnest, but neither his 
wishes nor his courage were shared by the rest of 
the Cabinet. Absenteeism had been for centuries 
the popular grievance of Ireland. Xow at length, 

1 ' Lord North to Harcourt, October 29, 1773.' 



book when it was about to be attacked, Ireland seemed 
— - scarcely to know its own mind. The absentees were 
177 °* powerful through their property. Lord Bessborough, 
one of the five protesting lords, commanded the 
great Ponsonby interest. Worried by letters from 
England, perplexed by the division among his Irish 
advisers, and though himself in favour of the tax, 
without resolution to stand by it, Harcourt consi- 
dered he would best consult Lord North's comfort 
if he could quietly let the matter drop, and use the 
Irish Opposition to get rid of it. It was a delicate 
manoeuvre. Constant in little else, Irish politicians 
never varied in their jealousy and suspicion of Eng- 
land. Absenteeism had been valuable to them as a 
grievance while it could be used against the British 
connection — more useful, perhaps, for this object, 
while it flourished unchecked, than if diminished or 
assailed by England itself. While England was 
ready to offer an Absentee Tax, they hesitated 
whether to receive it. If they were allowed to sup- 
pose that England was withdrawing it, their eagerness 
would infallibly revive. 

The Viceroy opened the Parliament on the 26th 
of October. His speech was looked for with anxiety. 
Would or would not the Absentee Tax be mentioned 
in it ? The speech was general — the subject was 
not touched on. 

i I admire your lordship's fortitude in supporting 
the tax,' the Viceroy wrote to Lord North, c and value 
your kindness. The opinion of some of the wisest 
and most experienced men in this kingdom, the gene- 
ral wishes of the people for half a century past, and 
the exigencies of the Government, led me to press it 
on your lordship. This, however, like every other 


mode of taxation, must naturally irritate those whose chap. 

hitherto untaxed estates would principally be affected « 

by it, and be attended with inconveniences, though 177i3 ' 
inadequate to the advantages it must produce. 
Not to embarrass your lordship, as soon as I saw 
how things were going, with the help of our friends 
here, I have obstructed the progress of the tax for 
the present. We mean to allow it to be moved in 
the House by a certain wild inconsistent gentleman. 1 
who has signified such to be his intention. This will 
be sufficient to damn the measure, though no other 
means be employed against it.' 2 

4 Other means,' however, were not neglected. i The 
letter of the five lords,' 3 Lord Harcourt said, he could 
have used with effect, if he had wished the bill to pass, 
to create exasperation against the absentees. 4 Having, 
or at least wishing, to give up that object,' he had tried 
to spread a fear that an Absentee Tax might be only 
a preliminary to a general Land Tax. And if he 
could only appear neutral, if he could only persuade 
the House of Commons that he had no wishes save 
that they should decide entirely for themselves, 
' such was their capricious instability, that he ima- 
gined this much sought-for boon would die of itself.' 4 

To create the desired impression some active steps 
were necessary. Though the measure was not yet 
formally before the House, it had been already touched 
upon. De Blaquiere, ready for any emergency in field 
or council, rose to speak upon it. For himself he 
said he was a warm advocate of a proposal which 
he believed would be the salvation of Ireland, 

1 The journals do not permit the 3 The protest of the Duke of De- 
identification of this gentleman. vonshire, &c. 

2 < Harcourt to Lord ^sorth, No- 4 Ibid, 
vember 9.' 



book but had been staggered by the variety of opinions 

_ N . which he had lately heard. They had not convinced 

t778, him; he adhered to his own impression; but he 
desired the House to understand that the adminis- 
tration would be guided entirely by the judgment of 
the Irish Parliament. They wished not to lead but 
to follow. The wisdom of the House would alone in- 
fluence the Government, and should determine his own 
personal conduct. He laid his heart upon their table, 
and he placed himself at their disposition: £ under 
the strange revolution of sentiment which the subject 
had undergone, it should surprise no one if he and 
his best friend divided on different sides of the 

Lord North meanwhile assisted the illusion. He 
had replied to the five protesting noblemen that the 
Absentee Tax was part of a scheme for the reorganisa- 
tion of Irish finance, and as such he intended to support 
it. The answer gave universal satisfaction in Dublin. 
Here at any rate was a really honest English minister. 
4 The generality of people took another turn/ The fear 
of the Land Tax might perhaps be chimerical. The 
tax after all was a desirable one, and England evidently 
desired to carry it. Towards the end of the month 
the Viceroy began to fear that his part had been 
overacted, and that he might be unable to prevent the 
bill from being carried c without betraying a degree 
of inconsistency which might be prejudicial to his 
majesty's affairs.' 1 The Viceroy assumed in his letters 
that Lord North agreed with him in the desire that 
the measure should be checked. Lord North's own 
expressions show rather that his own personal wish was 

1 1 Lord Harcourt to Lord North, November 22. Private.' 


to see it successful, and regretted sincerely the Eng- CHAF. 

J in 
lish opposition. He complained that the Irish were , — 

cutting their own throats by hesitating about it. 
1 The lords and gentlemen who had estates in Ireland 
and reside here,' he wrote on the 23rd of November, 
4 have held a meeting and retained Mr. Dunning and 
Mr. Lee to plead before the Privy Council. The 
city of London are preparing their Recorder for the 
same purpose. I do not fear the eloquence of these 
gentlemen so much as the universal prejudice which 
prevails against the measure, and the want of argu- 
ment to defend it and reconcile people's minds to it.' 1 
Amidst cross purposes in which Lord North and 
a handful of the Irish members were alone honest, 
the question came directly before the House of 
Commons on the 25th of Xovember. 1 The wild 
inconsistent gentleman,' to whom the conduct of 
the measure had been relegated that he might de- 
stroy it. moved in the usual language of vague 
vituperation that it was expedient that a tax should 
be imposed upon Absentee landowners. This was at 
once rejected as too indefinite. Mr. Oliver, member 
for Limerick, proposed that a tax of two shillings 
in the pound should be laid on all net rents and 
profits payable to persons who did not reside in 
Ireland six months in the year. On this the debate 
was described as * very warm and able.' The usual 
combinations were broken up. Pery, Flood. Tisdall, 
Bushe, Longfield, Dennis, the popular leaders of the 
Opposition, were strongly in favour of the motion. The 
patrician pseudo-patriots, the landed magnates, who 
were allied with the English aristocracv, John 

1 1 Lord North to the Earl of Harcourt, Xovember 23. Most 
private and contidentiaL' 


BOOK Ponsonby, Tom Conolly, Sir Charles Bingham, and 
\" the members returned by the Duke of Leinster spoke 

177 ' 5, on the side of the party who were looked on generally 
as satellites of the Castle. The equity of the tax 
was admitted universally. The opposition turned 
1 on the impolicy of irritating against Ireland people 
of high rank in England,' the probability that it 
would lower the value of land, that the absentees 
would throw their estates upon the market, and that 
Ireland would be invaded by flights of foreign pur- 
chasers. Lord Harcourt's treacherous suggestions 
too were not forgotten. ' They did unanimously and 
in the most violent manner inveigh against the in- 
sidious and deep designs of the English Government 
to introduce by these means a general Land Tax.' 

Blaquiere spoke again to protest against so unjust 
a suspicion. Elood argued, and the Attorney-General 
with him, that if an Absentee Tax was adopted, other 
taxes could be taken off ; and that Ireland would be no 
loser by the sale of the absentees' estates. ' They 
would be sold probably in small portions to Irish gen- 
tlemen of moderate means, and produce that division 
of property and residence of proprietors which the 
legislature ought to desire.' Pery, the Speaker, 
urged, with great justice, that the absentees, though 
paying ten per cent, on their income, would still con- 
tribute less to the Irish revenue than the resident 
gentry who were burdened with the Customs and 
Excise. At two in the morning the House divided, 
and the motion was lost by 120 to 106. ... 4 Thus,' 
wrote Lord Harcourt, 4 the long-expected measure 
which for ages has been the constant topic of their 
discourse, the warmest object of their complaints 
and wishes, and till within these three months con- 



sidered as too important an acquisition ever to be CHAP, 
hoped for by their country, has been rejected by a >_ n , L .. 
majority of fourteen.' 1773, 

Had he been as eager for the success of the attempt 
as he avowedly had nianoeuvered to defeat it, he 
could not have spoken more bitterly of a Parliament 
which, for once, and with a small effort, he might 
have persuaded to do right. 4 Such an instance,' he 
said, 4 of caprice and instability is, perhaps, hardly 
to be met with, and will mark the temper of 
the gentlemen of this country which every Lord- 
Lieutenant has to encounter. ' 1 

1 « The Earl of Harcourt to Lord North, November 26/ 



book An act which would have induced the London Com- 
. V ... panies to part with their estates, and have either com- 
1 ' ' S ' pelled the absentees to return or have led them to the 
same alternative, would, on many accounts, have been 
of priceless service. Not the least so, that as Catholics 
were still unable to hold real property in Ireland, it 
would have recruited the ranks of the Protestant 
gentry with new and wholesome elements. The 
House of Commons were not happy over their work, 
and many a gentleman who had voted in the majority 
would have gladly seen the measure passed in spite 
of him. The members re-assembled the next day in 
ill-temper with themselves and one another. Mr, 
O'Neil, of Shane Castle, Lord O'Neil afterwards, 
though he had been an active opponent, had now 
changed his mind, and moved that the question should 
be reconsidered. At once 4 a frenzy ' in favour of a 
proposal which had been maturely debated and de- 
liberately rejected c seemed suddenly to possess every 
member present.' 4 Mr. Flood was violent and able 
in a degree surpassing everything which he had 
uttered before. It appeared as if he meant to crush 
to destruction the Duke of Leinster's party and Mr. 
Ponsonby, against whom he made such a personal 
attack as the poor gentleman would never recover.' 1 
' With a satisfaction that he could ill express,' the 

1 ' The Earl of Harcourt to Lord North, November 27.' 



Viceroy was able to assure Lord North three days chap. 
later that all was again over, and this time finally. - J1 L 
He had discovered, or thought he had discovered, 1773, 
that sinister influences were at work under the sur- 
face, and that the opposition to the bill and the effort 
to reinstate it was due rather to political faction 
than to any care for Ireland's welfare. There was 
again a nine hours' debate, and at the end of it the 
motion for re-consideration was rejected without a 

4 We last night,' reported the Viceroy on the 
30th, 4 defeated the boldest and deepest attack made 
on the administration of both countries, and con- 
ducted, surprised as you may be to hear it, by his 
majesty's Attorney- General. We laboured with all 
our might to save appearances in the conduct of those 
faithful friends of the administration who were obliged 
to adopt to a certain extent the other side of the 
question.' 1 

Most brilliant and never sufficiently to be admired 
dexterity. A difficulty had been got rid of which 
might have raised differences between the cabinet 
and its English friends, while the Irish Government 
had gained the credit of seeming to favour an im- 
portant popular measure. Lord North's congratu- 
lations were warmer than might have been ex- 
pected from his previous language. Ireland's great 
measure had been thrown out by Ireland herself, 
and still more satisfactorily, 4 without any pro- 
mises of peerage or pension.' 4 Your Excellency's 
campaign,' said the premier, 4 has been most glorious 
and successful. The Irish Government will now be 

1 ' To Lord North, November 30.' 



book carried on with credit and tranquillity. His majesty 
^ — - is extremely pleased with you.' 1 

1/73. His majesty probably knew as much about the 
matter as his ministers told him. The secret history, 
if any one cares to look further into so dirty a busi- 
ness, appears to have been this. Lord Rockingham 
had supposed that Lord North really desired the 
Absentee Tax to be carried, and had, therefore, 
entirely irrespective of whether the measure was good 
or bad, advised his friends to oppose it. The 
truth had come to be suspected in Ireland, and a 
change of front had been attempted too late. ' If,' 
wrote the Viceroy, 4 the marquis and his friends pre- 
tend to suppose you are greatly hurt and disappointed 
at what has happened in Ireland, they ought not to 
be undeceived. The more that idea prevails, the 
greater credit and honour will be derived from it, and 
the shame and disgrace will fall to the share of others. 
On the whole, the late event, which could have no 
other object than throwing everything into confusion, 
has proved fortunate. It has strengthened the 
hands of the administration, and has afforded matter 
of caution against the machinations of restless and 
ambitious men.' 2 

Successes dishonestly gained seldom come to 
much. Political secrets known to many are never 
secrets long, and the Viceroy's expected tranquillity for 
the rest of the session proved an illusion. Once more 
the House of Commons was set vibrating on the vital 
question of the initiation of money bills. Blackstone 
had just commended the jealousy with which the Eng- 
lish Commons maintained their privileges when a grant 

1 ' Lord North to Lord Ilarcourt, 2 ' The Earl of Harcourt to Lord 
December 9.' North, December 15.' 



was made to the Sovereign. That Ireland should be CB LP. 

denied the same honour was a badge of dependency ; « , •„„ 

and the meddling of the English Council with the Bills 1 4 ' 
of Supply was intended and was felt as a perpetual 
reminder of their chains. The heads of the three 
Supply Bills of 1773 had been voted and sent to Eng- 
land as usual. The substance was satisfactorv, for 
on the loss of the Absentee Act the Customs duties 
had been raised to cover the deficit. But to maintain 
the English assumption a few verbal changes were 
nevertheless again introduced by the English Council, 
and, either by accident or mere ill-judged purpose, 
one of these changes was in the tea duties. Al- 
though the chests had not yet been emptied into 
Boston Harbour, the ominous word acted as a trumpet 
call to patriotism. Here at least there was no un- 
certainty as to England's real intentions. The 
familiar scenes were again enacted. Two of the Bills 
were unanimously rejected. The Viceroy found 
that it was impossible to stem the torrent. The 
Duke of Leinster, to recover his credit for opposing 
the Absentee Tax, would have rested on the negative 
vote and given no supplies at all. The majority, 
less extreme in their violence, drew the heads a 
second time, and sent them over. But, ' soured and 
inflamed ' as the House was, the Viceroy had to 
warn the Cabinet that if altered again they would 
certainly again be thrown out, and would not after- 
wards pass in any shape whatever. 1 

This was not all. The sour humour had other 
and juster causes which Harcourt was too ignorant 
to apprehend. Lord Townshend understood Ire- 

1 1 The Earl of Harcourt to Lord Rochford, December 27.' 



BOOK land's case. He recognised her wrongs. He had 

^ - studied her disorders, and he had thought about 

1773, them with serious alarm. His letters contain the 
serious reflections of a high-minded and far-seeing 
statesman. Harcourt could look no further than the 
problem of the moment, the immediate measures 
necessary to rig an adequate majority. 

While bringing up for transmission the heads of the 
new Money Bill the Commons presented a second 
complaint, which would not have been heard of had 
the Cabinet listened to Townshend. From the first 
week of the session committees had been enquiring 
into the meaning of the torrent of emigration which 
was still streaming out of Ulster to the American 
plantations. They had excused and covered the 
landlords, but England as well as the landlords was 
to blame. The linen trade had alarmingly decreased. 
The best artisans were going now because there was 
no work for them, and one cause at least was the arti- 
ficial encouragement given to rival English manufac- 
tures, and the duties now levied on the coarse kinds 
of Irish linen fabrics in direct breach of the engage- 
ment for which their woollen weaving had been 

With a temperate good sense, which shows that 
the remonstrance had been drawn by rational men 
instead of by tempestuous orators, the House of Com- 
mons, by the hands of the Speaker, presented their 
case to the Viceroy. ^ 

They had been confined by law to the manufac- 
ture of flax and hemp. They had submitted to their 
condition, and had manufactured those articles to 
such good purpose that at one time they had supplied 
sails for the whole British navy. Their English rivals 



had now crippled them by laying a disabling duty on chap. 
their sail cloths, in the hope of taking the trade out .— " L . 
of their hands; but they had injured Ireland without 1/74, 
benefiting themselves. The British market was now 
supplied from Holland, and Germany, and Russia, 
while to the Empire the result was only the ruin of 
Ulster and the flight of the Protestant population to 
America. 4 If/ they said in modest irony, c Great 
Britain reaped the fruits of this policy, the commons 
of Ireland would behold it without repining and sub- 
mit to it without complaining ; but it aggravates the 
sense of their misfortunes to see the rivals, if not the 
enemies, of Great Britain in the undisturbed posses- 
sion of those advantages to which thev think them- 
selves entitled on every principle "of policy and justice. 
It is the expectation of being restored to some, if not all, 
of those rights, and that alone, which can justify to the 
people the conduct of their representatives in laying 
additional burdens on them. No time can be more 
favourable to give effect to their wishes than the 
present, when the public councils are directed by a 
Minister who has the courage to pursue the common 
interest of the British Empire.' 1 

One more point of difference arose on another se- 
rious question. The whole country, the north espe- 
cially, was still agitated. Taxes, hitherto irregu- 
larly paid, were now being collected more reso- 
lutely by the help of the increased military force ; the 
soldiers were doing the duty of police, and when 
work of this kind is done by soldiers it is done always 
roughly and sometimes unjustly. Ireland had many 
times petitioned for an extension thither of the Habeas 

1 Commons' Journals, Ireland, December 25, 1773. 



book Corpus Act. Many times the heads of such a Bill 
v / * had been transmitted, but had never been returned. 

177 L The Habeas Corpus Act ' was held irreconcilable with 
the idea of a dependency/ and notice had been at 
last sent to the Irish Council 4 to transmit the Bill no 
more.' 1 Under the pressure of outcries which had 
risen perhaps out of the Hearts of Steel movement 
and the measures taken to repress it, the House of 
Commons made their demand once more, and under 
the circumstances the Viceroy threw the responsibility 
of the refusal on England. 

On the great Money Bill question the Cabinet had 
this time to yield. Where feeling ran so strong, a 
majority was too expensive an article to be purchased, 
except occasionally.- Compliance even with Lord 
Shannon would not secure support in these excep- 
tional cases. The trade complaints were doggedly 
dismissed, to add to the pile of wrong which was 
fast rising to a height when England would be com- 
pelled to attend to it. The Habeas Corpus Act was 
refused, as Harcourt knew it must be, on grounds 
which throw light on the practical working of the Irish 
Constitution. It was held 1 a solecism in politics to 
make the constitution of a colony the same as that of 
the mother country.' c The Catholics must either be 
admitted to the protection of it or be excluded.' If 
they were admitted the peace of the country could 
not be secured. If they were excluded four-fifths of 
the people would be deprived of their constitutional 
rights. A power of suspension must exist some- 
where to provide for emergencies. In England that 

1 * Lord Harcourt to Lord Rochford, March 6, 1774.' 



power was in the Parliament. In Ireland, where Par- chap. 

liament met only in alternate years, it must vest in — 

Government ; and if the 1 innovation ' was sanctioned 1 ' 1 4 * 
and the Act conceded, the Government would be in 
continual danger, either of provoking the Catholics 
by suspending it or of provoking the Protestants by 
refusing to suspend it. 1 

The Commons acquiesced, but finding their 
other grievances unheeded, acquiesced with despond- 
ing disapproval. The usual thanks were given to 
the Viceroy at the end of the session, not however 
without the suggestion of an amendment, which, 
though it was rejected, expressed the thoughts of 
the better part of the country. 

4 But although in compliance with the modern prac- 
tice of Parliament, and from a veneration of your 
Excellency's private virtues, which we sincerely 
respect, we thus address your Excellency at the close 
of this session, yet we cannot but recollect with the 
deepest concern that under your Excellency's admi- 
nistration taxes have been imposed on our constituents 
in this time of profound peace more grievous in their 
nature, and greater in their extent, than have been 
required or granted in this country for a century 
past, merely to support overloaded and, in many 
parts, unnecessary establishments, and particularly an 
odious and enormous list of absentee pensions and 
places ; so that this kingdom is now not only incapaci- 
tated from contributing to the support of a war, but 
even debilitated in peace by the impoverishment and 
consequent emigration of our people. A system of 

1 1 The Earl of Harcourt to the Earl of Rochford, March 6.' S.P.O. 



book taxes the more intolerable to a free people from the 

V , unconstitutional mode of levying them with the assist- 

17 ' 4 * ance of the military power, first attempted and 
finally effected in this kingdom under your Excel- 
lency's administration.' 1 

Commons' Journals, June 1, 1774. 




The student of the Parliamentary records of Ire- chap. 
land still discovers two parties there— a party of — - 
noisy, self-called patriots, catching at imaginary li74 ' 
wrongs for factious or interested purposes ; and a 
party of reasonable men, in each session unfortunately 
growing smaller, who understood what was amiss 
with their country, and were trying in vain to make 
the Government listen to them. It was not yet too 
late to stem the current of disaffection could England 
have been persuaded to act fairly. Lord North and 
Lord Harcourt knew that the Absentee Bill ought to 
have been passed. They could have passed it with 
ordinary courage. Every English administration 
was aware of the iniquity of the Pension List. Hardly 
any single Minister would have defended in private 
the prostitution of Irish patronage to buy corrupt sup- 
port in the House of Commons. Could Cabinets have 
retained their conscience in their collective capacity, 
and determined resolutely to do what was right in 
Ireland and nothing else, they would have met even 
now with few serious difficulties. They might have 
gone for a year or two without the supplies ; but there 
yet remained in the Parliament there a knot of upright 
men who would have stood by any Government 
that was acting resolutely on true principles. Lord 
Townshend would have won his battle without bri- 
bery, and his reforms would have remained, had he 
been allowed to commence with restoring Free Trade. 
The worst effect of a vicious system is the difficulty 

1 68 


BOOK of leaving it, the difficulty of seeing that it ought to 
. be left. English statesmen were allowing much 

L774, which they knew to be wrong in Ireland. The worst 
wrongs of all — the restrictions on industry — had con- 
tinued so long that their character could no longer 
be recognised. Both sections in the Parliament were 
giving trouble — English Cabinets thought unreason- 
able trouble — and they did not care to look closely at 
the grounds of complaint. The better sort of men could 
be silenced only by abolishing commercial abuses and 
stirring hornets' nests at Bristol and Manchester. It 
was easier a great deal to lead patriots by the nose by 
the old methods which had never been known to fail. 
Not therefore to making crooked things straight, but, 
as usual, to the better organising a majority, the 
labour of the Castle was addressed in the recess. 

Hely Hutchinson had continued faithful since 
Townshend had gained him over, but he was still fed 
of c the chameleon's dish.' His wife was not yet 
ennobled. He himself was Prime Sergeant and 
Privy Councillor, and had obtained besides a sinecure 
of 1,800/. a year, but his sons were unprovided for, 
and his claims were still waiting for adjustment. Mr. 
Flood had shown his capacity of being mischievous, 
but he had let the Viceroy know that he was willing 
to come to terms. He had supported the Govern- 
ment on the whole during the last session, and Har- 
court had been looking out anxiously for means of 
providing for him. 1 There were unusual difficulties, 
for Flood was not at the bar, and the lines of the 
professions were therefore closed against him. In June 

1 ' Among the many embarrass- proper provision for Mr. Flood.'— 
ments of my situation, I have found ' Lord Harcourt to Lord Rochford, 
none more difficult than to make a June 19, 1774.' 



1774 Dr. Andrews, the Provost of Trinity College, CHAP 


died. By statute the office could be held only by an - — - r ~ 
ecclesiastic. But a dispensing power lay in the Crown. 1 ' ' 4 * 
The Viceroy saw in the vacancy an opportunity of 
satisfying one at least of the expectants. From a 
disinterested desire, as he professed, to help the Vice- 
roy out of his embarrassment with Flood, Hely Hut- 
chinson, who had been himself educated at Trinity, 
intimated that if he might have the Provostship he 
would retire from the bar, and would place the offices 
which he already held at the Viceroy's disposition. 
He would lose a professional income of nearly 
5,000/. a year, 4 but his taste for literature and the pos- 
session of a considerable estate in the country disposed 
him to a sacrifice.' He was Prime Sergeant, and he 
was Alnager besides, 1 with a salary for doing no- 
thing of 1,800/. a year. Both these places would be 
vacated. Lord Shannon might be gratified by mak- 
ing his friend Mr. Dennis Prime Sergeant, Mr. Flood 
might be Alnager with a thousand a year : the Pro- 
vost's place being worth but two thousand, Hely 
Hutchinson might himself reasonably keep the other 
eight hundred, and his two sons, for whom he had 
been anxious before, being now boys of sixteen and 
seventeen, might be appointed to the office of 1 Search- 
ers of the Port of Strangford, now vacant, with a salary 
of a thousand a year.' By this little arrangement the 
Viceroy would be able to gratify three considerable 
members of the House of Commons, please Lord 
Shannon, and greatly strengthen the Administration. 2 
The Viceroy was well contented. He discovered 

1 An officer -whose duty, dis- 2 1 Lord Harcourt to Lord Koch- 
charged by deputy, was to measure ford, June 19, 1774.' 
cloth by the ell, and fix the assize. 



book that 1 the situation of a university in the metropolis 
, required more experience and knowledge of the world 

177 [ - than was to be found in a clergyman.' The parties 
interested were communicated with, and all were 
satisfied except one, the person in whose behalf the 
changes were professedly to be made. Flood could 
not conceal his indignant disappointment. That he, 
the first orator in Ireland, who had blazed for ten 
years as a star of the first magnitude, should be put 
off with the place of Alnager, shorn too of half its 
profits, approached to insult. Lord Frederick 
Campbell had trifled with him. De Blaquiere had 
promised him, he said, ' the first great office that 
should be vacant/ and was now trifling with him also. 
He, too, had set his heart on the Provostship of 
Trinity. He, not Hutchinson, ought to have it. Har- 
court, to whom he poured out his complaints, pointed 
out to him that Hutchinson was resigning two im- 
portant offices in exchange. 

' And have I resigned nothing ?' whimpered Flood 
with pretty naivete, fi Have not I made as great or a 
greater sacrifice, my popularity and reputation, which I 
have risked in support of a Government that now treats 
me with contempt ? ' He flung away in a rage. He 
would have no more to do with the Castle, he said. 
His treatment would be a lesson to everybody. But 
for him Lord Harcourt would have been as badly 
treated as his predecessors. 4 For himself, he was now 
reduced to a most humiliating and perplexed state, 
either to become a humble suppliant for favour, or 
give up all hopes of it, and submit tamely to every 
species of ridicule and contempt.' 

For a politician to sell his services was not con* 
temptible, it appeared, but to sell them and b$ 



cheated of the price. The Provostship was a situa- chap. 
tion for life. The object was to find something for - _ 111 
Flood which could be taken away if he fell off, lt l4 - 
something which would be a security for his good 
behaviour. 'To have male Mr. Flood Pr-;vo?: of 
Trinity/ Harcourt said, % would have placed him in a 
station of independence that might have made him 
extremely troublesome and formidable.' Prudence, 
however, required that he should not be flung back 
into opposition. The Viceroy enquired what his own 
views were. Flood intimated, as a ma::cr of favour, 
that he would consent to accept a Vice-Treasurership. 
The three Yice-Treasurerships were sinecure offices 
with salaries attached to them of 3,500/. a year. 
They were reserved in general for special favourites : 
unfortunately, for persons out of Ireland. Harcourt 
mildlv remonstrated. Mr. Flood miorht be contented 
to beorin at a lower level. Finding Flood immovable, 
he consented at last to recommend him. c It may be 
better,' he sail in reporting the conversation, 1 to 
secure Mr. Flood almost at any expense than risk an 
opposition which may be most dangerous and mis- 
chievous/ 1 

Lord Xorth would have been willing, but he had 
England to care for as well as Ireland. 'My ob- 
jection, 1 he replied, "to Mr. FI:o:I's having a Vioe- 
Treasurership is that I fear much blame here, and 

no small difficulty in carrying on the Kind's busi- 

_ _ 

ness. if I consent to part with the disposal of these 
offices, which have been so loner and uniformly be- 
stowed on members of the British Parliament. I 
acknowledge the Irish members had a right to 

- ■!: L:::.y::-.: 


book complain when two gentlemen who had no permanent 

, ^ , connection with Ireland were appointed Chancellor 

1774# of the Exchequer and Master of the Rolls for life, 
but . . . . ' In short, Harcourt was not to think 
of it. The Cabinet had great respect for Mr. Flood, 
but it could not be done. 1 

As a possible alternative Lord North suggested 
reviving the old office of President of Munster, with 
a salary of 2,000?. a year. Harcourt objected that 
if the Presidency was made a reality it would give 
Flood too much consequence. To revive it as a 
sinecure would be a job too gross even for Ireland. 
It would be less objectionable to raise the salary of 
some insignificant place already subsisting, or to give 
Flood a handsome pension. Mr. Flood denounced the 
pension system generally, but would doubtless accept 
one for himself. A provision of one kind or another 
must be made for him 1 on mere grounds of economy/ 
' Was it worth while to hazard the stamp and other 
duties so lately effected, and put an able and active 
man at the head of a numerous opposition to save a 
thousand a year for one life, and that perhaps not a 
good one, besides the other mischief which a despe- 
rate and disappointed man might devise ? ' 2 

After much deliberation, the Cabinet at length 
consented that Flood should have his Vice- Treasurer- 
ship ; but now a difficulty rose with Flood himself. 
The Vice-Treasurership was held 4 during pleasure.' 
Flood said he made no doubt of Lord Harcourt's good 
disposition towards him, but Harcourt could not 
answer for his successor, who might dismiss him with- 
out ceremony from an office of precarious tenure. He 

1 ' Lord North to the Earl of Harcourt, July 23.' 

2 ' To Lord North, September 3.' 



had been promised ' the first great employment that chap 

should be vacant. He ought to have succeeded to - 

the Provostship or to some situation which would have 1 1 ' 
placed him on an equal footing with the great officers 
of the Crown.' 

The Viceroy said that Flood had himself named 
the Vice-Treasurership. He had done his best to 
oblige him, but he would go no further. Flood must 
accept what was now offered, 1 or the Castle would 
hold itself discharged of its promises.' 

4 When he saw that his arts and his arguments made 
no impression, he said that out of his consideration for 
Lord Harcourt he would waive his claims to a more 
desirable situation.' He would accept a Vice-Trea- 
surership, provided it involved no charge on Ireland ; 
provided, i.e., his salary was paid from the English 

This was too much. The Viceroy said he could 
not ask Lord North to relieve the Establishment at 
the expense of Great Britain. The negotiation was 
suspended. 1 Mr. Flood had so high an opinion of 
his Parliamentary abilities that he thought England 
must submit to anything.' The vacant office was 
hung up as a prize for good behaviour to keep the 
patriots in order for the next year. The Viceroy 
particularly begged that it might not be given away, 
4 because it would deprive him of the means of making 
arrangements that would remove any material diffi- 
culty that could arise in the ensuing session of Par- 
liament.' 1 

Months now were allowed to pass, Flood believing 
that as the time of danger approached nearer the Vice- 

1 ' To Lord North, September 3.' 



book roy would give way. It would have been a proud posi- 
v - . tion for him could he have told his countrymen that 

1775 - he had compelled England to engage his services 
without entailing fresh burdens upon them. Finding 
the Castle gave no sign, he reopened the correspond- 
ence himself, and intimated his willingness to 
accept. He did not want money, but he was sensi- 
tive of ridicule. He had offended his patriot allies 
by the course which he had already taken. It must 
not be said of him that he had been duped out of his 
reward. He consented to take his place when Par- 
liament next opened among the avowed 4 servants of 
the Crown.' He had been so late in yielding, how- 
ever, that the session had begun before the King's 
letter arrived confirming his appointment, and during 
the first few days he was obliged to be absent from 
his seat. 4 Till the letter arrives, in fact,' Lord Har- 
court said, ' his situation is awkward enough. Since 
I was born I never had to deal with so difficult a man, 
owing principally to his high- strained ideas of his 
own influence and popularity.' 1 

As the dispute with America threatened to take a 
violent form, it was watched in Ireland with increas- 
ing eagerness, and when the attempt at coercion was 
followed by the news of Lexington and Bunker's Hill, 
domestic differences were suspended in the passionate 
anxiety with which the evolution of the drama was 
observed. The question in both countries was sub- 
stantially the same — whether the Mother Country 
had a right to utilise her dependencies for her own 
interests irrespective of their own consent ? The 
wrongs which America had taken arms to redress 

1 1 Harcourt to North, October 9, 1775.' 



were trivial compared to the wrongs of Ireland. If chap. 
America obtained free trade and self-government, - IIL _ 
the Irish might claim and hope for the same privi- l, " J - 
le^es, and the chains once broken in one colonv mio-ht 
be broken in all. The Northern Presbyterians looked 
on the revolt as the revival of the conflict of the pre- 
ceding century. They were personally interested 
in a struggle in which so many of their own kindred 
were engaged : while the Americans, alive to the value 
of support and sympathy so near at home, had made 
untiring efforts to enlist Ireland in support of their 

The Ireland of which the Americans were thinking, 
the Ireland which alone as yet had a political exist- 
ence, was Protestant Ireland. The Catholics might 
have looked on with indifference, or perhaps with 
pleasure, at a contest in which their enemies were 
destroying one another. Of them few or none had 
as yet sought a Transatlantic home — when thev emi- 
grated it was to France, or Austria, or Spain. Ame- 
rica was the creation of Nonconformity, and was as 
yet the chosen home of principles which Catholics 
held most in abhorrence. To them therefore it mat- 
tered little in itself whether England got the better of 
her colonies or the colonies of England. But the 
friends of the Americans in Ireland were their own 
worst toes. who. but for England, would have put the 
penal laws in force against them. In the last war. in 
which their sympathies might have naturally been 
enlisted, part of the Catholic body had made de- 
monstrations of loyalty. The present was a fairer 
opportunity of earning favour at the Protestants 1 
expense, perhaps emancipation from their chains. The 
Catholic eentrv and cler^rv came forward with an 





offer of a subscription, and, when their money was de- 
clined, with the earnest desire of ' two million faithful 
Irish hearts, 'to be alio wed a chance of showing their de- 
votion to their Sovereign by taking arms in his cause. 1 
' The allegiance of the Papists,' De Blaquiere said, 
added nothing to the strength of Government in Par- 
liament. The Catholic interest could command 

1 The petition of the Catholics in 
Ireland in 1775 has, I believe, never 
been published. When I mentioned 
it in America, I was met by a flat 
denial that any such petition had 
been presented. I therefore give 
this most curious and important 
document entire. It is addressed 
to Sir John de Blaquiere : — 

' Sir,— We natter ourselves that 
the occasion, the motives, and 
your goodness will engage you to 
excuse this trouble. As we are in- 
formed that an intended subscrip- 
tion among us, his majesty's affec- 
tionate, loyal, and dutiful Roman 
Catholic subjects of his kingdom of 
Ireland, to raise a fund among our- 
selves for encouraging recruits to 
enlist for H.M.'s service, was not 
judged necessary by Government, 
yet being desirous to give every 
assistance in our power, and to give 
every proof of our sincere, affec- 
tionate, and grateful attachment to 
the most sacred person and govern- 
ment of the best of kings, and 
justly abhorring the unnatural re- 
bellion which has lately broken out 
among some of his American sub- 
jects against ELM.'s most sacred 
person and government, impressed 
with a deep sense of our duty and 
allegiance, and feeling ourselves 
loudly called on by every motive 
and by every tie that can affect the 
hearts of good and loyal subjects, 
we take the liberty to make on 
this interesting occasion a humble 

tender of our duty, zeal, and affec- 
tion to our good and gracious King ; 
and we humbly presume to lay at 
his feet two millions of loyal, faith- 
ful, and affectionate hearts and 
hands, unarmed indeed, but zealous, 
ready and desirous to exert them- 
selves strenuously in defence of 
H.M.'s most sacred person and go- 
vernment against all his enemies, 
of what denomination soever, in 
any part of the world where they 
may be ; and to exert in an active 
manner a loyalty and an obedience 
which hitherto, though always 
unanimous and unalterable, from 
our particular circumstances and 
situation have been restrained with- 
in passive and inactive bounds — a 
loyalty which we may justly say 
is, and always was, as the dial to 
the sun, true though not shone 
upon. And we take the liberty to 
request, sir, that you will be so 
good as to represent to his Excel- 
lency our Lord Lieutenant these 
our dispositions and sentiments, 
which we well know to be those 
also of all our fellow Roman Ca- 
tholic Irish subjects, with an 
humble request to his Excellency 
that, if he think proper, he may be 
so good as to lay them before his 
maj esty. 

* Fingall, Trimleston, J. Barne- 
wall, B. Bar ne wall, &c. &c. 121.' 

Enclosed in a letter from Har- 
court to Lord Rochford, September 
30, 1775. 



neither speech nor vote. 1 Their demonstrations, and CI I I I ] P 
the gracious reception of them, inflamed rather than v -^„ r - 
soothedthe Puritans and Presbyterians ; and Harcourt, 
baffled after all his efforts by the effect of the American 
successes, looked forward to the session with great un- 
easiness. The Opposition were acting in concert with 
the English Whigs. He discovered that the)* meant 
to bring the subject of the colonies before Parliament, 
backed by the entire body of the Northern Protes- 
tants. 2 They were gaining strength rapidly, and his 
best chance was to press the subject to an immediate 
vote by introducing the subject into the speech. He 
complimented Ireland from the throne on her good 
behaviour while America was in rebellion. A friend 
of the Castle in moving the address invited the Com- 
mons in return to assure the Ki ng * that while his 
Government was disturbed by a rebellion, of which 
they heard with abhorrence and felt with indigna- 
tion, they would themselves be ever ready to show 
the world their devoted attachment to his sacred 
person/ 3 

Ponsonby, who recovered his patriotism when the 
Absentee Rents were no longer in danger, rose im- 
mediately to move an amendment. ; The Commons 
of Ireland, confiding in his majesty's tenderness for 

1 ' Sir John Blaquiere to Lord 
North. October 11, 1775." 

2 ( The Presbyterians of the 
North. who in their heart3 are 
Americans, were gaining strength 
every day ; and, by letters written 
by designing men. whom I could 
name, from your side of the water, 
have been repeatedly pressed to en- 
gage Ireland to take an adverse part 


in the contest, telling them the ba- 
lance of the cause and the decision 
of the quarrel was on this side St. 
George's ChanneL The subject 
would then have been pressed upon 
me with such advantage as I should 
have had difficulty in resisting." — 
! Lord Harcourt to Lord X orth, 
October 11, 1775.' 

3 Commons' Journals, 177-5. 



BOOK his subjects, and relying on his wisdom for bringing 
_ \- ^ these difficult matters to a happy issue, had been silent 
177:) - hitherto during the agitation of a dispute which could 
not but deeply affect them. Finding the event not 
answerable to their wishes, they would be wanting to 
their own interests and the general welfare if they 
longer hesitated to express their hopes that a differ- 
ence might be amicably terminated which they feared 
could not be ended otherwise/ 

A debate followed which lasted till the next even- 
ing. The Irish cause was openly identified with the 
American. Denis Daly said that if America was 
beaten, 30,000 English swords would impose the 
Irish taxes. Hussey Burgh, a rising orator, who 
will be heard of again, said England meant to 
reduce her dependencies to slavery. Flood luckily 
for himself was absent. Had he spoken he must 
have been false either to his principles or to his Castle 
engagements. The weight of defence was thrown 
on De Blaquiere, the Viceroy being unable to trust 
4 the independent persons ' whom he had bought, on a 
question where feeling ran so high. 4 Your thread- 
paper friend,' De Blaquiere told Lord North, 4 lost 
flesh which he could not well spare ' in the long pro- 
tracted fight. It was uncertain to the last how the 
division would turn, but the first octennial Parlia- 
ment was drawing near its end. . . . De Blaquiere 
hinted that an adverse vote might lead to an imme- 
diate dissolution, and 4 the apprehension of rotten 
eggs and an approaching election 1 turned the scale 
in favour of the Castle. The Viceroy said he 4 never 
was so happy in his life as when the question was 
decided.' In the first blush of triumph he flattered 
himself that 4 his victory would give peace to Ireland, 



carry terror to America and despair to Chatham and chap 
the English malcontents.' , " ! _ 

The keener-eyed De Blaquiere indulged in no such 1775, 
illusions. 4 Judging from the asperity of expression 
among the Outs and the avaricious coldness and 
jobbery among the Ins,' he looked for a stormy 
session, and saw rough water on all sides. 

He had reason for his fears. When the Irish Par- 
liament consented to the increase of the army, they 
exacted a condition that not less than 12,000 men 
should always be kept in Ireland. The excuse for 
and motive of the augmentation was the better se- 
curity of life and property, and a smaller number had 
been proved to be unequal to the work. Lord North 
now required 4,000 of these troops for service in 
America. He offered, if Ireland wished it, to send 
4,000 Hessians to take their place at the cost of 

Again, the army in America was to receive its sup- 
plies from Ireland. To keep the prices of provisions 
down the Viceroy was told that he must lay an embargo 
on the Irish ports, and shut oif the farmers from 
other markets. It was a measure of direct spolia- 
tion, as the Viceroy acknowledged, yet it was to be 
imposed by sovereign authority, while he was to apply 
to Parliament to sanction the removal of the troops. 
If the removal was to be accompanied with an embargo, 
the Viceroy c confessed with shame and concern that 
there was not one of the confidential servants of the 
Crown whom he could trust in such a matter without 
the risk of having the measure defeated.' 1 A disso- 
lution would not mend matters. Forty Castle seats 

1 ' Lord Harcourt to Lord North, October 17 and 23.' 



book were threatened. Every loose, unprincipled member 
_ -V was watching to make his bargain when the Govern- 
j7 " > ' ment should be in difficulties. Lord Massereene had 
a brother, Major Skeffington, in the House of Com- 
mons, and two nephews. Major Skeffington was a 
bad officer. 1 Massereene had applied for a colonelcy 
for him, and had been refused. The three votes were in 
consequence given against the Government on the 
American question. After the division Skeffington 
renewed his request. It was understood that unless 
it was granted the process would be repeated through 
the session. With infinite disgust the Government 
was obliged to yield. 

4 You must,' wrote De Blaquiere — these details are 
essential to a comprehension of the working of the 
Irish legislature—' you must by pension or place 
sink a sum of not less than 9,000/. per annum, ex- 
clusive of the provision that may be found requisite 
for rewarding or indemnifying those who are con- 
nected by office with the Administration. There 
are no less than from thirty to forty members that if 
not assisted cannot secure their re-elections. Many 
of them hold small employments or pensions of from 
two to three hundred pounds a year. Their seats in 
the new Parliament cannot be purchased at less than 
2,000 guineas. Their past services entitle them to 
what they now hold, and an addition of pension or 
salary, as circumstances may require, is scarce an 
adequate compensation for the advance and loss of so 
large a sum. Other gentlemen have had promises 
made them which must be fulfilled in some way. Let 
it suffice that for carrying on the public business a 

1 ' There is an appearance of in- ought not to be patronised.' — ' To 
activity in him which certainly Lord North, October 27.' 



charge not less than I have stated is indispensable. CHAP. 
I have already been obliged, with my Lord-Lieuten- >_ , 
ant's leave, to promise additional salaries or pensions 177 ' } * 
to Messrs. Blakeney, Fitzgerald, Tighe, Sandford, 
Pennefather, O'Brien, Coghlen, Malone, Cane, and 
Fetherstone, most of whom were wavering in their 
faith/ 1 

With a horizon overcast and every moment growing 
darker, De Blaquiere, on the 23rd of November, pre- 
sented the request for the removal of the troops. The 
embargo had been declared ; the House was sullen. 
The American question was at once revived. Pon- 
sonby protested. Fitzgibbon (the father) said that if 
Ireland refused consent the King would reconsider his 
course. Hussey Burgh said that Ireland ought not 
to help in cutting the throats of the Americans. If 
the principle of taxation was established against 
America there would be an end of Irish liberty. 
Consent was given, but with extreme reluctance. 
Hessians or Brunswickers the House flatly refused to 
admit, and the objection to receive them must have 
been serious, for Lord North had been attacked at 
Westminster for having proposed to supply the gar- 
rison of Ireland at the cost of the British Treasury. 2 
Was Ireland safe with her garrison reduced so far? 
That was a further question of which Lord North and 
the Viceroy were better able to feel the importance 
than the House of Commons. There it was be- 
lieved that when the 4,000 men were sent away 8,000 
at least would remain. Those who were behind 
the scenes knew, unhappily, that the truth was far 
otherwise. The King had insisted on better order 

1 1 De Blaquiere to Lord North, 2 ' Lord North to Lord Harcourt, 
November 1775.' S. P. O. December 1, 1775.' 



book being observed in these matters. Nothing ever re- 

_ y , mained in order in Ireland. On the 1st of November 

1775. t j ie ac tual number of soldiers there all told amounted 
but to 9,200. The directions given were to pick the 
best men from all the regiments for the American 
service. The force that would remain would be a 
shadow. Under these circumstances Lord North 
appeared to think that he might as well take all the 
troops that could go. No sooner had he received 
notice that the Parliament had consented, than he 
sent orders to embark eight regiments instead of the 
six which would have made up the allotted number. 
Harcourt, who had endured much, replied that if eight 
regiments were to go, 4 he must request his majesty 
to appoint some other person to execute a command 
which would be fatal to the kingdom.' He described 
his situation 4 as the most cruel and unmerited that 
ever fell to the share of a man whose life had been 
devoted to his prince.' 1 

Across this scandalous trifling came a fresh protest 
on the state of Irish trade. The Speaker before the 
Christmas recess presented one more remonstrance 
against the wrongs of the Irish manufacturers. 

Will you at last, the Commons said in substance, 
repent of your misdeeds to us while there is time ? 
We have parted with our garrison at the hazard of 
our safety. We have granted supplies beyond the 
limit of our means. May we hope in return that the 
light will break at length through the cloud which 
has so long overshadowed us? Will you under- 
stand now that the prosperity of Ireland is the 
strength, and not the weakness, of Ireland ? 

To have assented even then at the eleventh hour 

1 ' Lord Harcourt to Lord North, December and January, 1775 and 



would have been worth more to England than all the chap. 


majorities which all her wealth could purchase — but > — ^ — » 
it was not to be. The Cabinet could never rise be- ' 
yond the thought how with least difficulty to meet 
the trials of the current session. The country might 
continue to tread her miserable round from year to 
year, from century to century. They had bought 
Flood and they were satisfied. Unknown to them 
there had entered into this very Parliament, in this 
December, by a casual vacancy in the borough of 
Charlemont, a youth, who had come into notice as a 
contributor to 4 Baratariana,' more dangerous than a 
thousand Floods, because alone of Irish patriots he 
was incorruptible. In five years Henry Grattan was 
to wrest out of England's hands the power which she 
had so long abused, to give back to his country her 
birthright of free trade, and to give her with it the 
fatal privileges of constitutional self-government, 
which she wanted honesty to use, and which plunged 
her into a deeper abyss of ruin than she had escaped. 
His voice was first heard beside Hussey Burgh's de- 
nouncing the iniquity of the embargo. But neither 
could the embargo be prevented nor any measure 
passed of real consequence, not even those which Eng- 
land knew to be necessary and had confessed to be 

The first question after the winter recess was the 
defence of the country. England was at war. 
Ireland was denuded of troops, the defences of her 
harbours in ruins, and exposed to the attacks of pri- 
vateers. In this situation the Parliament offered the 
national remedy of a militia, and drew the heads 
of a Bill for transmission. The important thing was 
to get a force of some kind that could be relied on, 



BOOK and a militia at all events would have been under the 
_ - V -— ^ control of the Crown. Lord North had no objection, 

1 ' ' but acting on the old and fatal maxim of 4 divide et 
impera,' he saw in the establishment of a militia an 
opportunity of gratifying the Catholics and rewarding 
the display of their loyalty. They were willing to be 
enrolled ; and Lord North stipulated that their enlist- 
ment must be accompanied with 4 indulgences in the 
exercise of their religion. 9 Such indulgences would 
have followed as a matter of course, had there been 
no formal demand for them. But the prominent men- 
tion of a tender subject at once exasperated Protestant 
prejudice. Harcourt felt his way, but found that the 
proposal to admit the Catholics would ruin a measure 
which was otherwise urgently desirable. 4 There 
was no point,' he said, 4 on which gentlemen were so 
sensitive, or the country in general so jealous. No- 
thing more was needed to throw Ireland into a 
flame.' 1 The heads of the Bill went on as they were 
first drawn, containing no mention of the Catholics. 
With an infatuation which brought rapid penalties 
after it the Bill was not returned, and instead of a 
militia which would be in the hands of the com- 
mander-in-chief, the Government were to reckon with 
the volunteers. 

The same perversity attended the revival of the 
Judges' Tenure Bill. Ireland was naturally anxious 
for the removal of the Bench from the influence of 
jobbery. Townshend had recommended the change 
from the throne, and in Townshend's time it had 
been prevented only by the introduction of a clause 
reserving a power of removal to the British Parlia- 

1 t Lord Harcourt to Lord North, February 28, 1776.' 



ment. The Irish Commons, as a last act before the chap. 

dissolution, made another attempt to bring it about. « JI - - 

The heads of the Judges' Tenure Bill were brought 
to the Viceroy to be sent over. Lord Harcourt, un- 
willing in his embarrassment to part with any 
influence by which he could work on the fears or 
hopes of the baser members of the Lower House, 
himself entreated the Cabinet to refuse consent. 

' The state of the country duly considered,' he 
said, 'I am persuaded it would be very undesirable 
to make the commission of judges to continue during 
good behaviour. So many inconveniences would in- 
fallibly result from such a bill, that I trust it will not 
be deemed proper to return it to Ireland.' 1 

These proceedings may be described as a very 
effective sowing the wind, the more so as the 
parties concerned were innocently unconscious of 
what they were doing. On the 5th of April the 
session closed, and with it the Parliament. 1 Our 
business ended,' De Blaquiere reported, 'with temper 
and satisfaction. We had a sharp debate on the 
address. Mr. Grattan, Mr. Bushe, and Mr. Yelverton 
were particularly violent; but we shamed them even 
in argument, and in point of numbers were so strong 
that they dared not divide.' 2 

It would be curious to know what the c arguments ' 
were. A case could be made on the Money Bill, on 
Irish rights, and the American war ; but the attack 
turned largely on the defences of the country, the 

1 1 Lord Harcourt to Lord Wey- production of his chief he appends 

mouth, February 5, 1776.' The as a remark : ' I was in the country 

Harcourt correspondence in the when this extraordinary letter was 

State Paper Office is preserved in written. J. B.' 
copies made and annotated by Sir 2 ' To Lord North, April 7.' 
John Blaquiere. To the present 



BOOK increasing debt, the corrupt expenditure, the mon- 

; — , strous Pension List, and the loading the Establish- 

1 rnent with sinecures as the price of political support. 
On these points what answers could have been made 
which were not lies ? 

Harcourt's term of office was now running out. 
One duty only remained to him — to superintend the 
general election; to see the new Parliament installed, 
and its composition tested by the election of a Speaker. 
It was then to be prorogued for fifteen months. The 
Viceroy was to go to England. His successor was 
not yet determined on. He might himself, perhaps, 
be asked to return, and if Lord North so wished it 
he was ready to sacrifice himself, or, as he put it, 
' he was not disposed to turn his face from the evil, 
or suffer the bitter cup to pass from his lips/ 

De Blaquiere had already explained the steps 
which the election rendered necessary. The esti- 
mate fell far short of the requirements. Eighteen 
members of the Lower House insisted that they had 
earned peerages. If they received their coronets, 
they undertook to fill the seats which they had 
vacated with men on whom the Castle might rely. 
But they refused to be paid in promises. They must 
have their price on the spot. Besides these, de Bla- 
quiere recommended a long list of persons for pensions 
and places. He represented compliance as ' indis- 
pensable for the public service.' And here again delay 
was unpermitted, for, as he observed, 4 Many of our 
grants are always mortgaged in part for the purchase 
money of our seats.' 1 4 1 have but three words for 

1 ' Sir John Blaquiere to Lord North, May 4.' 



you,' he wrote in a companion note to Secretary chap. 

Robinson — 'Dispatch, dispatch, dispatch, for the ex- ■ ™ . 

istence of your future views depends upon it.' 1 ' ' ''• 

Under these influences the memorable Parliament 
was chosen which was to revolutionise the Irish Con- 
stitution. Little could its future career have been 
conjectured from its first performance. It assembled 
in force to choose its Speaker. Pery, as before, was 
the Government candidate. Ponsonby was again the 
choice of the patriots. It appeared, when the trial 
came, that Lord Shannon and the Elies had fallen off 
again. The Duke of Leinster had forgotten the old 
feud, and supported Ponsonby with all his weight. 
But corruption for the present proved too strong for 
aristocracy and patriotism combined. Pery was 
elected by 141 votes to 98, and the Castle won a 
glorious victory in its own imagination. 

Public confidence, which had been shaken, was re- 
stored. Government debentures rose from 90 to 101. 
Lord Harcourt not being required to drink any 
deeper of his 1 bitter cup,' resigned with an aureole 
about his head, and returned to England, to fall into 
the Xuneham well. De Blaquiere, who resigned with 
him, preferred to remain in a country where his com- 
posure under fire had made him popular, and where 
he conceived that by his political dexterity he had 
fixed the authority of Government on a basis of rock. 

' In retiring from my public station in this king- 
dom,' he wrote to Lord Xorth, 'permit me most sin- 
cerely to congratulate your lordship on the unshaken 
loyalty and perfect tranquillity that have been pre- 
served in it at a period when so much pains had been 
taken to lessen the one and disturb the other. I 



book mention the situation of this kingdom with so much 
— \- — - confidence and pleasure because there is not a part 
J " 6 * of his majesty's dominions where I would be so 

happy to spend the remainder of a private life as in 

Ireland/ 1 

1 * Sir John Blaquiere to Lord North, July 4, 1776.' 





Ninety years had passed since Aghrim and the sur~ chap. 
render of Limerick had laid the Irish race once more . . L 
prostrate at the feet of England. The time had come, 177G - 
as it comes with all nations and with all men, when 
England was to be called to account for the trust 
which had been committed to her. She had sown 
with poison weeds the draggled island which lay in 
the rear of her imperial domain. The crop had 
sprung up and ripened, and now the harvest was to 
be. gathered. When circumstances compel a strong 
nation to deprive a neighbour of political indepen- 
dence, that nation is bound to confer on the inferior 
country the only reparation in its power — to share 
with it to the utmost its own material advantages — to 
justify its assumption of superiority by the equity 
and wisdom of its administration. England had 
discharged her sovereign duties to Ireland by 
leaving her to anarchy masked behind a caricature 
of the forms of her own constitution. With an inso- 
lent mockery she had refused her request for incor- 



book poration in the empire. She had left her the name of 
_\ L a separate kingdom and a separate nationality as her 
177 C) - excuse for withholding from her the equal rights to 
which she was entitled. The nationality which she 
insisted on preserving was to become a thorn in Eng- 
land's side — the instrument of a merited humiliation. 

The Protestant colonists implanted as her repre- 
sentatives by James and Cromwell, finding that trans- 
portation to Ireland implied the sacrifice of their 
rights as English citizens, became Irish in sentiment, 
and trod again, step for step, the same road which 
had been travelled by the Norman conquerors. They 
adopted Irish habits ; they adopted the Irish ani- 
mosity against their oppressors. In the collapse of 
nobler purpose they had come to regard their position 
as an opportunity for plunder, and to consider the 
proceeds of the soil, whether in the shape of public 
revenue or private rent, as so much booty to be 
seized and divided. 

In the misappropriation of the revenue England 
herself set the ignoble example. The Irish Parlia- 
ment became simply the arena for the partition of 
the spoil. The English Cabinet retained the 
Pension List for corruption or for questionable court 
favourites. They retained the high offices of State 
as sinecures, to keep in good humour their Parlia- 
mentary friends at home. As the price of connivance, 
they left to the Irish leaders all else that could be col- 
lected as cess or tax to be absorbed by themselves, or 
to be disposed of among their dependents or kinsmen. 
Public interests meanwhile went to ruin. The army 
was neglected, the police was unexistent. Smug- 
glers, houghers, Whiteboys, and women ravishers 
pursued their calling unmolested, till familiarity 



with their atrocities raised thern into the rank of na- chap. 
tional institutions. The harbour defences crumbled L _ 
and disappeared, the military stores were stolen. 
From Dublin Castle to the lowest custom-house the 
public service was pervaded with peculation, the 
Viceroys themselves playing the first part in the 
disgraceful spectacle — superior, doubtless, themselves 
to unworthy influences, but setting the example of 
buying the consciences of those who were nearest to 

The least evil of bad government is the immediate 
consequence. The worst curse of it is the effect 
upon the characters of the people who grow to man- 
hood in so detestable an atmosphere. 

The attempts of George the Third to introduce 
reforms had only shown the hopelessness of the 
problem. Townshend and Harcourt had broken the 
power of the great nobles, but they had broken it 
only by more indiscriminate and lavish bribery. 
They had taught the so-called independent members 
that the service of the Castle was a safer road to 
fortune than the service of the Leinsters and Pon- 
sonbies. The discovery once made, the hunger grew 
by what it fed on, till corruption became a thing of 
course, and honour and principle were words which 
ceased to have a meaning, except in rounding the 
periods of some fluent orator who laughed at them in 
his sleeve. 

In their social relations the Irish gentry were 
scarcely more satisfactory than in politics. Owner- 
ship of soil had descended from a time when the lord- 
ship of a manor was a military command. Services 
due to the Crown, both in England and Ireland, had 
longbeen compounded for; and the distinction between 



book real and personal property, so far as positive duty 
_ v t L was supposed to attach to one rather "than the other, 
1 " G * was fast disappearing. But in England the spirit of 
the old form survived the letter of it. The great 
families remained objects of affectionate allegiance 
to the tenantry. They administered justice ; they 
officered the army and militia ; they commanded the 
yeomanry ; they represented the counties, and in that 
capacity had been the guardians of public liberty. 
Placed by station and fortune beyond vulgar tempta- 
tion, they held in check the adventurers who took 
up politics as a road to personal preferment, and by 
the degree of genuine integrity and patriotism which 
they have carried into modern Parliaments they 
have alone made possible the wholesome working of 
the Constitution. 

In Ireland the form was the same ; the reality was 
essentially different. Of the resident noblemen 
and gentlemen a minority retained their English 
character, and acted, so far as circumstances would 
allow them, on English principles. To them was due 
such progress as Ireland had made. Their estates 
became oases in the general wilderness, and they and 
their families were regarded by the peasantry with a 
feeling which went beyond allegiance — the passionate 
attachment with which the Celt never fails to reward 
the masters who treat him with kindness and jus- 
tice. But men like these kept clear of public life, or 
if they entered it can be traced only by ineffectual 
efforts to stem the general tide. At best they were 
but a handful of salt, to keep the mass from putre- 
fying, and were never in sufficient numbers to in- 
fluence materially the fortunes of the country. A 
third, at one time half, of the Protestant owners of 



laud in Ireland were absentees. Their connection chap. 

with their properties was the mercantile one merely. 1 ✓ 

Their duties were to send persons to collect their 1 ' } ' 
rents. Their lands were leased to head tenants, whom 
the law compelled to call themselves Protestants 
also; but these persons were often of the old blood, 
ashamed of the names they bore, and, being without 
religion of any kind, were without moral sense. The 
idea of duty having disappeared, the idea which took 
its place was the desirableness of being an idle gentle- 
man. To live without labour, to spend his time in 
hunting, shooting, drinking, gambling, and fighting 
duels, became the supreme object of an Irishman's 
ambition. The head tenant let to others like himself, 
and they again to others, till the division fell at 
length below the line at which Catholics were ex- 
cluded from holding farms. The Catholics would 
offer any rent, and thus gradually ousted such Pro- 
testant cultivators as had remained from earlier times. 
Over large tracts of the southern provinces the only 
Protestants were the agents of the gentry, or else 
tenants holding on lives and long leases. The cul- 
tivation fell exclusively to the Catholic peasantry, 
to wretched cottiers, themselves starving on potatoes, 
who in those above them saw nothing but a series of 
profligate extortioners, a reproach alike to the creed 
they professed and to the system of administration 
which they represented. 

The extremity of worthlessness was to be found 
on the estates of the absentees. Of the resident pro- 
prietors, the smaller sorts, living most of them beyond 
their means, and buried in mortgages, nearly resembled 
the middleman. The more considerable, with a few 

VOL. II. o 



book remarkable exceptions, formed the Irish gentlemen of 
. popular tradition, who, easy and goodnatured, had 

1 " 6 * accommodated themselves, like the Norman barons, to 
the ways of their country. They, too, raced and rode 
and drank. They were out at elbows. They were 
popular among their tenants, and on the whole, kind 
to them. But it was the more necessary for them 
to find other means of replenishing their empty purses. 
In a land where industry was under a blight, they 
took up into themselves the genius of the nationality 
which their fathers had been planted in Ireland to 
eradicate. Light-hearted, reckless, and extravagant, 
they became like Irish chiefs of the sixteenth century 
in modern costume, living from hand to mouth, and 
recognising but one obligation which was always and 
uniformly held sacred among them — to send or ac- 
cept a challenge, with or without reason, at any place 
and at any time. These, for the most part, were the 
country magistrates, to whom the peace of Ireland was 
entrusted. The duties were light, for the crimes 
committed were of a sort which, till landlords began 
themselves to be murdered, opinion did not severely 
condemn ; and those inclined to be more severe found 
themselves compelled to conform to the general tone. 
As a rule, the difficulty of obtaining evidence was a 
sufficient passive check. If a too enterprising magis- 
trate went further, if he insisted on punishing a 
ravisher, or preventing a duel, or arresting smug- 
glers or whisky distillers, or interfering in short 
with any general right which custom sanctioned, he 
was encountered by a challenge to himself from one or 
other of the parties aggrieved, and he had to fight, 
or lie under the ban of society. 

More unsuited than even the owners of the land for 


2 95 

the work demanded of them, were the spiritual in- CHAP. 

structors which the Irish Constitution provided. . 1 _ 

That the Irish Celts might be converted to Protes- 
tantism could not be called impossible after the ex- 
ample of Wales and the Scotch Highlands. That 
they should be so converted was of incomparably more 
consequence, because it was only when ceasing to be 
Catholics that it was possible for them to become 
loyal subjects of the British Crown. British Minis- 
ters dreamt of attaching them by standing between 
the priests and the execution of the penal laws. The 
priests affected gratitude, which they did not and 
could not feel. The Irishman, who was at once Celt 
and Catholic, received a legacy of bitterness from the 
past which he was forbidden to forget. The invaders 
were in possession of the land of his fathers. He had 
been stripped of his inheritance for his fidelity to his 
creed. He saw himself trodden down into serfdom 
on the soil which had been his own, and England — 
England only — he knew to be the cause of his sor- 
rows. The edge of his animosity was blunted when 
he adopted the reformed religion. The rebellions 
which had occasioned the forfeiture were then no longer 
sacred to him, and his point of sympathy with the 
conquerors was stronger than his resentment. To 
gain him over therefore should have been the first 
object of an English statesman, and the institutions 
of the country should have been studiously adapted 
to missionarv purposes. Xo organization could have 
been invented, less adapted for such an end, than the 
Established communion. It had divided Protes- 
tantism in two, and had ostracised the most energetic 
section of it. It drove the Presbyterians into repub- 
licanism and disaffection ; and to the Catholic, who 

o 2 


BOOK boasted of his own unchanging and uniform faiths 
J^J. . it presented the contrast of wrangling creeds hating 

I7/(> - and denouncing each, other more cordially than either 
hated their common antagonist. 

The Irish Church, had it not been for English in- 
fluence, would probably have drifted into a wiser 
policy and perhaps a more successful career. At the 
beginning of the last century the bishops and clergy 
were Jacobites and High Churchmen, and were dis- 
abled for active work of any kind by worldliness and 
pluralities. The pluralities and worldliness continued, 
but the happy possessors of the richer benefices became 
absentees like the landlords. The work was left to 
curates of simpler habits and more genuine piety. 
The visit of Wesley to Ireland and the practical con- 
flict with Romanism of a violent type, had kindled 
and fostered in the parochial clergy an interesting 
development of evangelical devotion; and had they 
been left to themselves to choose their own prelates 
and organize their own services, they would have 
found means perhaps of ending the schism which was 
paralysing Protestant efficiency. Here too, however, 
as everywhere else, the Parliamentary system made 
improvement impossible. The high offices in the 
Church, the bishoprics and deaneries, were utilized as 
the most effective instruments of political influence, 
and were reserved and distributed with scarcely an 
exception as the reward or inducement of party service. 
The celebrated passage in which Swift describes the 
nominees to the Irish sees as waylaid and murdered 
by highwaymen on Hounslow Heath, who stole their 
letters patent, came to Dublin, and were consecrated in 
their place, is scarcely an exaggeration of the material 
out of which Ireland in the last century was provided 



with a spiritual hierarchy. When men like Stone chap. 
were Primates, and men like Harvey suffragans, the — \ - 
prelates of the Irish Establishment were perhaps more 1 ' ' b * 
singular specimens of successors of the Apostles than 
Christendom under its various phases had ever wit- 
nessed or will witness 0L r ain. 

The English Government might count itself inno- 
cent, and doubtless was content so to regard its own 
conduct. If Irish landlords chose to neglect their 
obligations and their properties, if the Parliament 
was corrupt and could be kept in working condition 
only by the prostitution of the secular and spiritual 
patronage : if all classes preferred their own customs 
to the ordinary principles of order and morality, they 
were themselves the cause of their own miseries. 
Thev had the same institutions under which England 
was the envy of the world. If they misused their 
advantages, on them lay the responsibility. The ex- 
cuse falls in but too completely with the modern 
theories of liberty. It is identical with the defence 
presented long ago by Adam's eldest sen. and. as in that 
first instance, was a cynical pretext to cover deliberate 
wickedness. If Ireland Lad fallen into sloth. England 
had first annihilated the most flourishing branch of 
her industry. She had left her the linen trade, and 
boasted of having given her exceptional advantages 
in the prosecution of it. but she was repenting of her 
magnanimity, invading the compact, and by side mea- 
sures, stealing it from her in favour of her own people. 
She had cut Ireland off from the sea by her Naviga- 
tion Laws, and had forced her into a contraband trade 
which enlisted half her population in organized resist- 
ance to the law. Even her wretched agriculture 

1 98 


book had been discouraged, lest an increasing breadth of 
« — corn in Cork and Tipperary should lower the value of 
1 " (> * English land. Her salt meat and butter were laid 
under an embargo when England went to war, that the 
English fleets and armies might be victualled cheaply 
at the expense of Irish farmers. If the high persons 
at the head of the great British empire had deliber- 
ately considered by what means they could condemn 
Ireland to remain the scandal of their rule, they could 
have chosen no measures better suited to their end 
than those which they had pursued unrelentingly 
through three quarters of a century. By definite acts 
of unjust legislation they were forcing the entire 
people to abandon themselves to the potato, and to 
sit down to brood over their wrongs in a paralysis of 
anger and despair. 

Things had come to a point when if men had held 
their peace the very stones would have cried out. 
Legislatures may pass laws at their high pleasure, but 
if the laws are not in harmony with the order of nature, 
nature will refuse to recognise them. The discon- 
tent of the peasantry might have been kept down by 
force ; the oratory of the patriots could have been 
bought over; but every sound and honourable mind in 
Ireland was now convinced of the necessity of a 
change. The Americans were pointing the way to re- 
dress, setting the example of resistance, and creating 
an opportunity. A great occasion raises common 
men to a level above their own. Accident, or the 
circumstances of the country, had created in Ireland 
at this time a knot of gentlemen whose abilities and 
whose character would anywhere have marked them 
for distinction. Indignation and hope had induced 



them to forego the temptations which under ordinary chap. 
conditions would have carried them awav to England. > — ~ — 
They remained at home to fight the battle of their 
country, to inflict on England a well-merited humilia- 
tion, and to tiy the experiment whether Ireland could 
or could not be safely trusted with the control of her 
own destinies. 




book The fortunes of Ireland at this moment were con- 
—z^rr' nected so intimately with the phases of war in Ame- 
' ' ' rica, that the student of the Irish revolution must keep 
himself reminded of the parallel events of the Trans- 
atlantic struggle. 

After the battle of Bunker's Hill the American 
lines were drawn closer round Boston. The opening 
of the year 1776 found General Washington estab- 
lished on Dorchester Heights, from which his cannon 
commanded the anchorage. Swarms of small pri- 
vateers from the mouths of the New England rivers 
interrupted the provision ships coming in from the 
sea, and in March General Howe found it necessary to 
evacuate the city, and to remove his troops to some 
position where they could act with effect and be no 
longer straitened for supplies. Sir Peter Parker was 
foiled in the summer in an attack on Charleston, and 
encouraged by their signal successes, the representa- 
tives of the united colonies ventured their Declaration 
of Independence. These initial misfortunes hardened 
the spirit and roused the resolution of England. An 
attempt to enlist Canada in the revolt was a disas- 
trous failure. Colonel Montgomery, who commanded 
the invading forces, was killed ; his army which ex- 
pected to be welcomed with enthusiasm was cut in 
pieces by the colonists and the British garrison at 
Quebec; and an American squadron on Lake Champ- 
lain was taken or destroyed. Lord Howe came out 
with large reinforcements to the Bay of New York, 



where he was joined by his brother Sir William and by chap. 
the troops withdrawn from Boston. Lord Howe had * — ^ — - 
brought with him power to negotiate, and it is pos- 
sible that after the disappointment in Canada, had 
substantial concessions been now offered, the Declara- 
tion of Independence might have been reconsidered. 
The idea of separation was as yet unfamiliar, and the 
majority of the colonists were as loyal to the empire 
generally as they were tenacious of their liberties, 
and determined to assert them. Lord Howe, how- 
ever, contented himself with offering pardon to those 
who would lay down their arms. General "Wash- 
ington held Long Island and the Island of New York 
itself with 17.000 men. The British generals 
intended if possible to take New York and use it 
from thenceforward as the base of their operations. 
Sir William Howe landed on Loner Island a little to 
eke North of Sandy Hook. He advanced along the 
harbour to Brooklyn, opposite the city, and on the 
2 9th of August, on the ground where Brooklvn Park Al1 -^ - • 
and Cemeterv now stand, he encountered Washington, 
defeated him, drove him across into Xew York, and 
out of Xew York over the Hudson, and thence in 
the month following forced him back over the Dela- 
ware into the forest, apparently broken into ruin. 

Xow still more would have been the time for Lord 
Howe to produce his commission to treat. But care- 
less through the ease of their success the English 
forgot Lexington and Bunker's Hill. They regarded 
their work as done. They broke into separate divisions. 
They were surprised in detail at Princeton and Tren- 
ton, and severely punished. Sir William Howe gather- 
ed his broken detachments together, retreated slowly 
through Xew Jersey to Xew York, manoeuvering 



>K in vain to draw Washington into another general 

, V }' act ion, and the season being over, settled down in his 

1 ' ' 4 ' winter quarters to lay his plans for a decisive campaign 
in the coming spring. New England was the heart of 
the insurrection. As soon as the snow had gone and 
roads and rivers were again open, General Burgoyne 
was to move south from Canada by Lake Champlain, 
cross the watershed, and descend the Hudson to 
Albany, where Sir Henry Clinton would meet him 
ascending the same river from New York. The New 
England States would thus be cut off from their 
allies, and tamed perhaps into a separate peace. 
Meanwhile Howe himself, whom the fleet enabled to 
select his own point of landing, could threaten 
Pennsylvania, and if he failed to reduce it could 
at least prevent Washington from operating against 
Burgoyne. Sir William Howe conducted his own 
share of the campaign with perfect success ; he 
landed at the mouth of the Chesapeake, inflicted a 
destructive defeat on the Americans on the Brandy- 
wine, broke them again as fast as they recombined, 
finally drove the Congress out of Philadelphia, de- 
stroyed the forts which had been raised by Washing- 
ton to prevent the entrance of the English ships into 
the Delaware, and sate down in the autumn with his 
fleet and army in full possession of the American 

Ear different was the fate of Burgoyne, whose task, 
to all appearance, was the easier of the two. 

Leaving Sir Guy Carleton in Canada with a force 
adequate for its defence, Burgoyne set out in the 
middle of J une, with ten thousand of the best soldiers 
with which England could furnish him, a powerful 
train of field artillery, and a flying swarm of Indian 



allies, the warriors of the Six Nations who, useless for chap. 
purposes of real fighting, it was hoped would terrify — \ _ 
the American imagination, and instead of terror pro- 1 ' 
duced only resentment by their cruelties, and a cen- 
sure on their employment from the conscience of 
civilised mankind. He advanced unresisted as far as 
the head of Lake Champlain. The Americans had a 
fort at Ticonderoga, but they at once evacuated it on 
his appearance, and still without seeing an enemy, 
Burgoyne struck into the forest to make his way to 
Fort Edward, on the Hudson. Here his difficulties 
began. Roads there were few or none. The settlers 
driven to fury by the savages took their rifles 
and hung upon his skirts, interrupting his communi- 
cations and cutting off his foraging parties. They 
closed in between him and Lake Champlain, and 
stopped his supplies from the rear. The country was 
swept clean in his front. He found himself dependent 
entirely on the stores which he carried with him, and 
was obliged to push forward at the utmost speed. The 
utmost speed was very small. It was enough for the 
Americans if they could impede his march. Hunger 
would then do their work for them. On the 30th of 
June Burgoyne had left Lake Champlain. In the 
middle of September he was still fifty miles from 
Albany, hemmed in. with provisions failing and unable 
to move. On the 19th he was attacked by the Ameri- 
cans and fought a severe battle without being able to 
extricate himself. Clinton, whom he contrived to 
inform of his situation, came forward up the river : 
but instead of pushing on through Albany contented 
himself with destroying villages and farmhouses in 
the expectation that he would draw the Americans 
off. They understood their advantage too well to 



book lose it. They could rebuild their houses. They might 

, , wait long before they could catch in a net another 

1777 English army. As October opened, Burgoyne made 
one more desperate plunge and struggled a few miles 
further to Saratoga. There another battle followed, 
when he lost more of his guns. The Indians deserted 
him. His provisions gave out. He attempted to 
retreat, but it was too late. Half his force was sick 
October or disabled, and on the 12 th of October, with no al- 
ternative before him but destruction, he was compelled 
to lay down his arms. 

The impression produced by this catastrophe was of 
greater consequence by far than the material loss. It 
raised the Americans to the rank of a belligerent power, 
to be admired and recognised by the world. It de- 
cided France to revenge herself for the loss of her Trans- 
atlantic provinces by assisting, since she could not keep 
them for herself, in tearing them from her rival. Frank- 
lin, to whom England would not listen, repaired to 
Paris, where he was received with open arms. Then, 
at last, when the opportunity was gone, Lord North 
began to realise the magnitude of his task. Stunned 
by the surrender at Saratoga and finding his old enemy 
preparing to strike in, he recognised the necessity of 
a compromise, and a bill was hurried through Parlia- 
ment, which six months previously the States would 
have accepted with gratitude. The pretension to 
tax the colonies directly or indirectly was totally and 
for ever abandoned, and Lord Carlisle and Mr. Eden 
were sent out as commissioners, with power to offer 
free trade, to offer seats in the English House of 
Commons if America wished to be represented there, 
to offer, even in the name of England, to share the 
debt which the colonists had incurred in maintaining 


their rights by arms. It was too late. Anticipating chap. 

the course which England would pursue, France, in > — 1 . 

consenting to an alliance with the States, had made J " 8 * 
it a condition that they would for ever renounce their 
connection with the mother country. La Fayette, 
who had joined the American army as a volunteer, 
when the news arrived that the treaty was signed, 
had flung himself in tears into Washington's arms. 
Before Lord Carlisle landed the chances of reunion 
were gone unless it could be achieved by force 
of arms. Congress replied to the English emissary 
that if Great Britain desired to negotiate with 
America, she must withdraw her fleets and armies 
and recognise American Independence. Very gallantly 
England accepted the new conditions of the conflict. 
She declared war against France. Spain, in the hope 
of recovering Gibraltar and Jamaica, flung herself 
into the quarrel and made a third enemy. The little 
island, stripping herself in earnest now for the large 
task which lay before her, prepared to encounter 
single-handed the two strongest powers in Europe, 
and still keep her hold on her revolted provinces. 
It was work for a giant, and never before in her 
history did England bear herself with finer spirit. 
A French squadron, under Count d'Estaing, appeared 
at the mouth of the Delaware. Howe moved 1 from 
Philadelphia and fell back to New York. But the 
English fleet, thus reinforced from home, came out and 
drove d'Estaing into Boston, where he was left helpless. 
At the outset the French brought no help to their 
allies, but only misfortune. Together they attempted 
Rhode Island, but made nothing of it. A British 

1 July, 1778. 



BOOK force was landed in Georgia, defeated the American 
- — N i — . army there, and recovered the state. The summer 
following, 1779, an expeditionary force from New 
York laid waste Virginia. Re-embarking and going 
north it attacked Connecticut, taking and plundering 
New Haven and Fairfield. An American fleet was de- 
stroyed in August off Massachusetts. Savannah was 
taken in the south, and a desperate attempt to recover 
it decisively failed. 
1780. It seemed as if England, hitherto, had been playing 
with her work, and was only now setting to it in 
earnest. The next year, 1780, brought the Americans 
no better fortune. Sir Henry Clinton made a second 
attack on Charleston and this time successfully. 
Charleston surrendered, and five thousand of the 
soldiers of independence whom Washington could 
ill spare became prisoners of war. General Gates 
hastened with the heroes of Saratoga to the defence 
of Carolina. Lord Cornwallis met him at Camden, 
and the sharpest battle hitherto fought in the war, 
ended in a rout of the Americans. Gates lost his 
stores and his guns. Cornwallis, master of the 
field, was master of the Southern States, and pro- 
ceeded to confiscate estates, try and punish leading 
insurgents, and inflict on the Carolinas the sharpest 
consequences of unsuccessful rebellion. So far as 
appearances could promise, England was only 
threatened by another European coalition that she 
might play over again as proud a part as she had 
played under Chatham. 

Bearing with him this general outline of the events 
of the American War, the reader will now be prepared 
to understand what was happening in Ireland. 




Could Lord North have foreseen the problem which 
was about to be presented to him, he would have 
chosen the ablest statesman to succeed Lord Har- 
court whom he could have persuaded into undertaking 
a post so detested as the Yiceroyalty of Ireland. 
Encouraged, perhaps, by the apparent docility of the 
newly elected Parliament he fixed on the Earl of 
Buckinghamshire, a nobleman whose qualifications 
were that he had discharged without discredit the 
office of minister at St. Petersburgh. Lord Buck- 
inghamshire on entering on his office was encountered 
at once by a phenomenon at once novel and dis- 
agreeable. The embargo had given a fresh impulse 
to the smuggling trade. Armed sloops and brigan tines 
were again fitted out in the creeks of Cork and Kerry, 
which at sea and in unquiet times were not particu- 
larly scrupulous, while by the side of them and in 
intimate correspondence with them there appeared 
on the coast three fast sailing and heavily armed 
privateers carrying American colours, come over 
to spend the summer in and about St. George's 
Channel, the ' Lexington' and the 'Reprisal,' eighteen- 
gun sloops, and the 1 Dolphin,' a ten gun brig. Their 
crews were mixed, Americans, French, with a large 
admixture of Irish. They lay chiefly between Holy- 
head and the Irish Coast, in the track of the Liverpool 
and Belfast traders. Their prizes as fast as they took 
them they sent away round the Land's End, to some 



BO OK French port, where they were sold. The prize crews 
- V , L it was easy to recruit from the smugglers and fisher- 
1777j men. Three ships of the line were sent from Ports- 
mouth to destroy or drive off these mischievous 
hornets. The 4 Arethusa,' a thirty-two-gun frigate, 
was ordered to find and capture them. They 
laughed at the liners. They evaded the 1 Arethusa/ 
A fourth brigantine, the 4 Oliver Cromwell,' was added 
to their number in the course of the summer, and they 
plied their trade with impunity, the smugglers keep- 
ing them furnished with fresh provisions, with pilots, 
and with information. The naval supremacy of Eng- 
land, in reliance on which the Irish harbours were left 
undefended and Ireland was left bare of troops, was 
defied at her own doors, while the American flag was 
seen daily fluttering in insolence from the Irish coast 
anywhere between Londonderry and Cork. 1 

The Biennial Session came duly round in the 
autumn. The speech was colourless; the address 
was unopposed. The political air was tranquil, for 
all parties were standing at gaze waiting for news 
from America. It was known that Howe had driven 
the Congress from Philadelphia. Had it fared equally 
well with Burgoyne, the majority so carefully secured 
by Harcourt would have remained true to the winning 
colours. But in December came the account that 
Burgoyne was taken, and then that Franklin was in 
Paris and that a treaty was signed between the insur- 
gent states and France. The next thing that Ireland 
heard was that Lord Carlisle was going over to grant 
America more than Ireland had ever asked or dreamt 
of. This was to be the reward of rebellion. America 

1 See the Irish State Papers, for the spring and summer of 1777. 



had taken arms. Ireland had sat passive under her chap. 
wrongs. America was to be free and triumphant ; < — ^ — 
Ireland was to wear her chains as the symbol of her 17 

It was more than Irish blood could bear. Grattan, 
taking at once his natural place, became the voice of 
his people. On the 7th of February he moved an ad- 
dress to the Crown that the condition of Ireland 
was no longer endurable. The military establish- 
ment was more costly than ever, yet the country 
was undefended. The Civil List had grown like a 
rank weed. Sinecures were heaped on sinecures. The 
Pension List was so heavy in 1757 that the Commons 
had protested against it; since that time it had 
doubled. The representatives of the people must 
speak out. Mr. Grattan did not prescribe the par- 
ticular mode of redress, but he demanded a change of 
system and appealed to the King. 

The motion was lost by a heavy majority, 1 but 
the debate was long and well sustained. The sup- 
porters of the Government expressed their hope to the 
Viceroy after the division that the privileges which 
were to be granted to the rebellious Americans would 
be extended to a country which had borne its wrongs 
without resistance, and that the restrictions on Irish 
trade would be relaxed or abolished. 2 

The Catholics had been demonstratively loyal at 
the outbreak of the rebellion. They had been re- 
warded with gracious words, and they too had come 
to think that they might receive something more 
substantial. In March, Mr. Talbot, on behalf of the 

1 143 to 66. to Lord Weymouth, February 7. 

2 < The Earl of Buckinghamshire To Lord North, March 20, 1778.' 




book Catholic Committee, presented the Viceroy with a 

„ N L , list of grievances, the redress of which, if it satisfied 

17 /8, the Committee's expectation, would amount 4 to a 
repeal of almost the whole of the Penal Laws.' 1 

Concession was the order of the day. The King 
had already resolved on doing something for the 
Catholics, and the rising tone in the Protestant House 
of Commons made the Government more anxious to 
strengthen themselves with the support of their rivals. 
Lord Buckinghamshire was directed to feel his way 
among the members of both Houses best inclined to 
the Catholics, and discover what degree of relief could 
be proposed with a chance of success. He met with 
a cold reception. 4 The unanimous opinion' was 
that although a relaxation of the Penal Laws was 
desirable, 4 the time was unfavourable,' and that to 
bring it forward at present 4 would set the country 
in a flame.' 2 

The Catholic Committee was satisfied to wait, but 
Mr. Talbot left a sketch of their views with the 
Viceroy. The preamble of it contained as an ob- 
jection to the continuance of the Penal Laws the 
singular remark 4 that those laws had rather tended 
to create an aversion from and dislike to the Estab- 
lished Church, and thereby in a great measure pre- 
vented a great majority of the people from embracing 
the Protestant religion.' It paid a compliment 
equally noticeable to Protestantism itself, by appealing 
4 to the doctrine and principles of the Reformation, 
and to the spirit of British laws against oppression 
or persecution on account of religious belief.' The 
substance of the Catholic demands was, 4 that no 
person who had taken the oath of allegiance in its 

1 ' To Lord Weymouth, March 4.' 2 Ibid. 



latest form should be counted a Papist according to chap. 
the meaning of the Popery Acts.' 1 >- — ; — 

' Divide et impera ' was still Lord North's maxim. 
He hoped by humouring the Catholics to escape a 
struggle on the trade monopolies. But the art of 
governing by these time-honoured methods was 
ceasing to answer its end. War had been declared 
against France, and the privateers of the past 
summer might now be supplemented by a fleet from 
Brest. The coast towns could no longer be left 
without garrisons. 

Parliament voted 300, 0(W. for the repairs of the 
fortresses. The country professed its willingness to 
provide for its own defence either by volunteer corps 
or by a militia. The Presbyterians especially, who had 
been hitherto devotedly American, were forward 
in offering their services. 2 The idea of volunteers 
had not yet, perhaps, suggested itself with any 
sinister object. It was mentioned only as an alter- 
native. The Militia Bill of the last session which had 
been rejected in England in the interest of the 
Catholics was again sent over, and the Viceroy begged 
that it might this time be returned to him, that if 
necessary the militia might be embodied. The Par- 
liament, however, he said, preferred volunteer corps, 
and for himself he was strongly of the same opinion. 
The cost of the militia would fall on the Treasury. 
If the lords and gentlemen of Ireland were willing to 
raise independent companies at their expense, it would 
be a pity to reject their liberality. The Treasury was 

1 ' The Earl of Buckinghamshire but the disposition of the Presby- 
to Lord Weymouth, March 4, terians. — The Earl of Buckingham- 
1778.' shire to Lord Weymouth, March 

a ' The idea of the French war 29.' 
has not only altered the language 




B0( )K empty. Twenty thousand pounds had been borrowed 
* at interest from La Touche's bank, but that was 

17V8, already spent. There were pressing demands for 
money for indispensable purposes, and a second ap- 
plication to Messrs. La Touche had been met by 
polite excuses. 1 

The necessity of prompt resolution was made more 
apparent by news which came in from the north. 
In the last year the privateers had not appeared 
before June. They had vanished at the equinox, 
and if they returned they were not looked for at an 
earlier part of the season. The ■ Arethusa ' and her 
consort had gone back to Portsmouth. The * Drake,' 
a 20-gun brig or brigantine, lay at Carrickfergus, and 
is the only vessel mentioned as on the station. A 
seaman, meanwhile, had entered the service of Con- 
gress who knew how to use an opportunity. 

Paul Jones was born at Kirkcudbright, in the year 
1747, and was the son of a servant of Mr. Craik, of 
Arbigland. He was apprenticed when twelve years 
old to a merchant at Whitehaven, and after remaining 
with him fourteen years emigrated to Virginia. 
There he found himself at the breaking out of the 
revolutionary war, and taking the American side he 
distinguished himself so brilliantly in command of a 
privateer, that in the spring of 1778 he was appointed 
to the 4 Ranger,' a fast 18 -gun sloop, with a roving 
commission. Guessing that if he was early in the 
Irish waters he would find the coast clear, he sailed 
for St. George's Channel at the beginning of April. 
Every harbour was familiar to him, and the condition 
of every harbour battery. At midnight on the 20th 

1 ' To Lord North, April 30, 1778.' 



of April, an unknown armed vessel sailed into Carrick- chap. 
fergus Harbour, and brought up under the c Drake's ' - — — 
side. She had meant to board, but she swung J//<s * 
astern too far in the tide. The ' Drake ' hailed her 
to know what she was and whence she came. A 
voice answered hastily that she was from St. Vincents. 
A moment after she had cut her cable and was 
standing again out to sea. The 4 Drake ' fired a 
shot and stood out in pursuit, but she had lost time 
in getting under weigh, and the mysterious stranger 
had disappeared in the darkness. It was the ' Ranger,' 
which had crossed the Atlantic in less than twenty 
days, and had already in the way up Channel taken a 
Waterford brig, a Dublin ship called the ' Lord 
Chatham,' and a sloop and schooner which she had 
pillaged and sunk. Having missed the ' Drake,' 
Jones stood across to Whitehaven to visit his old 
acquaintances there. His appearance was an absolute 
surprise. Before the inhabitants had recovered from 
their astonishment he had landed a couple of boats' 
crews, spiked the guns in the batteries, fired the 
shipping in the harbour, and was gone like a sky 

Swiftness in such matters was the condition of 
success. On the morning of the 22nd Paul Jones was 
in Kirkcudbright Bay, the scene of his childhood ; he 
landed at St. Mary's Isle and plundered the house of 
Lord Selkirk. Thence on the instant he flew back 
to the Irish coast to look for his friend the ' Drake,' 
and dispose of her while she was still alone. The 
' Drake ' was at her old moorings in the Lough. 
Jones entered again this time in broad daylight at 
eight in the morning, sailed round her, and went out 
again. An English officer could not refuse so 



book insolent a challenge. The ' Drake's ' gnns were four 
. vr _ pounders, the 4 Ranger's ' were sixes. Captain Burder, 

1778 * the ' Drake's ' commander, nevertheless instantly 
weighed and went in pursuit. The ' Ranger ' led 
him a long chase. He did not overtake her till the 
evening. After an hour's sharp engagement, yard 
arm to yard arm, Captain Burder and his first officer 
were killed, half the crew were dead or disabled, and 
the ' Drake ' herself with shattered spars and leaking 
sides was obliged to strike. Another ship from White- 
haven captured the next morning completed the work 
of a single week, and the bold privateer, after landing 
his least valuable prisoners on the Antrim coast, 
made sail for Brest with his prizes. 1 

The dullest pedant in the English Government 
could no longer resist such a rude awakening. 
Already the English Parliament had begun to think 
that Ireland must be attended to. A bill was brought 
in and carried for repeal of the Penal Laws against the 
Catholics at home of which the Irish Acts had been a 
copy. It was an example which Ireland might follow 
if it pleased. Lord Nugent had brought up the trade 
question, and after a hard fight had wrung out some 
few concessions. The embargo was taken off, and 
Ireland, as an extraordinary favour, was allowed a 
free export of all her productions except woollens. 

The absenteeism of her men of genius was a worse 
wrong to Ireland than the absenteeism of her land- 
lords. If Edmund Burke had remained in the 
country where Providence had placed him, he might 
have changed the current of its history. When he 
took up her cause at last in earnest it was with a 

1 ' Depositions taken before the Rev. R. Dobbs, co. Antrim, April 
27, 1778.' S. P. 0. 



brain which the French revolution had deranged, and 
his interference became infinitely mischievous. In 
these preliminary questions, however, he exerted 
himself wisely and on the right side. The table of 
the House of Commons was covered with petitions 
from the English manufacturers against further in- 
dulgence. Ministers talked the usual cant that taxes 
in Ireland were low and living cheap, and that she 
must be weighted in the race or England would be 
ruined. Liverpool. Manchester, Glasgow, were aim:-: 
in insurrection. Burke had the courage to face the 
storm. He demanded for one thinsr the re -extension 


to Ireland of the benefit of the Navigation Laws, and 
though he tailed for the time and quarrelled to no 
effective purpose with his Bristol constituents, he 
forced English statesmen into a faint perception of the 
enormity of their past policy, and familiarized them 
with the necessitv of a change. 

Xot venturing to risk the stability of the Cabinet 
in a commercial tempest, yet aware that something 
must be done to bring Ireland into a better mind. 
Lord Xorth fell again upon the Catholic question. He 
had reason to fear in fact that the Catholics were less 
loyal than they pretended, and that unless he insisted 
on concessions being made to them, he might have an 
Irish insurrection on his hands in addition to his other 
troubles. 1 Ireland must do what England had done. 

formation here, concerning a plot 
for a revolt in the west of Ireland 
among the Roman Catholics, with 
a view to overturn the present Go- 
vernment, by the aid of the French 
and Spaniards, and to establish such 
an one as prevails in this country, 
I mean the Cantons, by granting 

toleration to the Protestants. You 
may depend on its authenticity, and 
that at this moment many friars are 
going secretly bum France to Ire- 
land to set it going; though the 
late Acts passed for the relief of 
the Roman Catholics will, it is to 
be i:te:.. ir-v-n: i: = :::efri- 
ing : the motive to revolt having 


The Viceroy was directed to urge the friends of 
Government to swallow their scruples, and forward 
immediately some measure ' of expedient relief.' 
Something was better than nothing. Many intelli- 
gent Irishmen were aware that the Penal Laws had 
failed of their purpose and could no longer be retained. 
Others, not inclined to relaxation on the side of the 
Catholics, remembered that the Presbyterian disabili- 
ties had been laid on in a side clause of the anti- 
Popery Act. The relief of the Catholics might be 
accompanied appropriately with the relief of the 
Nonconformists. The Bill was entrusted to Luke 
Gardiner, the member for Dublin, who afterwards, 
as Lord Mountjoy, was to learn the real meaning 
of Catholic emancipation when he was piked and 
hacked to death at New Ross. At present he was 
known only as a rising politician, one of the very 
small body in the House of Commons whose principles 
were above suspicion. His proposal was to repeal 
the gavelling clauses of the Act of Anne, to allow 
the property of Catholics to descend unbroken, to take 
from the eldest son the power of making his father 
Tenant for life by affecting conversion, to enable Catho- 
lics to purchase freehold property, and to relieve them 

proceeded from the intolerable hard- 
ships they suffered. My intelli- 
gence comes from Rome, and I am 
pretty certain these Act3 have been 
brought in, from the ministry re- 
ceiving the same intelligence, which 
T know they have been in possession 
of for some time ; as the measures 
for preventing the mischief proposed 
by the person who gives the in- 
formation are exactly those that 
have been adopted. Depend on its 

being true, and that all the Roman 
Catholics in the west of Ireland 
have been ripe for a revolt some 
time ; and that the plan was, and 
may be yet, a fixed purpose, that 
has been in agitation, and preparing 
to burst ever since France showed 
a disposition to break with Eng- 
land. — Lord Amherst to Lord 
North, from Geneva, June 17, 
1778.' S. P. 0. 



from the vexatious limitations on their leases, which CHAP, 
had led so manv of the larger tenants to affect to be - — L — - 
Protestants. These suggestions fell far short of the 
committee's expectations, but short as they were they 
involved the final surrender of the policy which was 
designed to throw the whole soil of Ireland into 
Protestant hands. To part entirely with so cherished 
an expectation was more than the House was pre- 
pared for. An amendment still to withhold from 
Catholics the right of buying freeholds, and to enable 
them instead to take leases for 999 years, was carried, 
after a long debate, by a majority of three. 1 A 
member in favour of the Presbyterians then moved 
the repeal of the Test clause. There had been 
a time when English Ministers were alive to this 
enormous impolicy of alienating so powerful a section 
of the Protestant community, and had endeavoured 
in vain to persuade the Irish Parliament to adopt a 
wiser attitude towards Dissent. Xow, when the Irish 
Commons at least were willing, it was England that 
drew back. Lord North and the Viceroy, sharing 
the miserable prejudices of Churchmen against Dis- 
senters, had determined that the Dissenters' disabili- 
ties should be maintained as a punishment of the 
Presbyterians for their American tendencies ; but 
their hope was to avoid if possible the responsibility 
of the rejection, and throw the odium of it on the Irish 
Parliament. Very many members of the House of Com- 
mons, by the Viceroy's confession, were in its favour. 
Lord Buckinghamshire mioiit have succeeded, how- 
ever, in throwing out the clause by Castle influence, but 
for the tactics of some of the leaders of the ultra- 

1 111 to 108. 



BOOK Protestant party. Lord Shannon, Lord Ely, and other 
. VL . noblemen who were opposed to granting relief to the 

1778 ' Catholics supported it ' as a clog to the rest of the 
Bill.' They were aware of Lord North's resolution. 
They expected that if the Presbyterian claims formed 
part of the Bill as it was sent to England, one of two 
things would happen — either it would be struck out 
by the English Cabinet, and the party in the House 
which had supported Catholic relief only with a view 
of emancipating the Presbyterians would then reject 
it altogether, or the Bill would be returned entire, 
and then it would be thrown out by the bishops in the 
House of Lords. 1 Assisted by the nominees of these 
great persons, the clause was carried through the 
House of Commons. So intense, so childish, was 
still the animosity of the peers and prelates against 
the Nonconformists that it passed the Council on its 
way to England, only from an assurance that it 
would be removed there. Lord North, as was 
anticipated, struck it out. The sacramental test, 
which had done more harm in Ireland than all the 
penal acts against the Papists ten times told, was per- 
sistently retained. The Bill came back a relief to 
Papists only, and in this form nearly met the fate 
which Lord Shannon and its friends designed for it. 
It was carried through the Commons with extreme dif- 
ficulty, but it was carried, and the first step was taken 
in the series of measures yet perhaps unended, which 
are called Justice to Ireland. The Catholic Irish could 
once more acquire a hold on the soil of their fathers. 
The distinction between a tenure of 999 years or a 

1 1 The Earl of Buckinghamshire to Lord Weymouth, June 20, 1778.' 



lease for five lives and a freehold was too arbitrary to chap. 

be permanent. This feature in the Penal Laws, the , L 

harshest because the most difficult to evade, was 1<7s - 
abolished for ever, and with it the ever demoralizing 
if not at the time when it was enacted whollv unne- 
cessary, power bestowed on a child who conformed to 
the Establishment to prevent his father from disin- 
heriting him. 

With the Catholic Relief Bill was this time returned 
also the Militia Bill, as the Mceroy had desired ; and 
50,000/. borrowed from the Bank of England were 
sent over for greater security in a frigate to enable 
the Ticeroy to protect the harbours. 1 As the 
summer wore on, privateers under French and 
American colours thickened in the Irish Channel, the 
fishermen and smugglers being still their constant 
friends. Two of them lay usually off Bray Head, 
others off Waterford and Cork, others at the Durseys 
or Cape Clear. Being built for speed they laughed 
at pursuit, and made prizes of any traders that 
passed them. Their occupation was so lively and 
so lucrative that it found imitators in the captains and 
owners of the contraband crafts, who went to Brest for 
letters of marque and returned to their haunts to 
plunder, as if engaged in honourable war. The 

1 ' The Earl of Buckinghamshire hand and a life pension of 1,700/. a 

to Weymouth, June 3, 1778. — It is year. The Clerkship of the Pells 

painful to observe that at a time was then given to Mr. Jenkinson, 

when Lord North appeared really afterwards Earl of Liverpool. The 

alarmed about Ireland Irish jobs salary was raised from 2,300/. to 

were as rife as ever. Charles James 3,500/., and the Irish Exchequer 

Fox held a sinecure office of Clerk was thus burdened in this one trans- 

of the Pells in Ireland, with a sa- action with an additional 1,200/. 

lary of 2,300/. a year. In this year, on the office which Fox had held, 

1776, North induced Fox to sur- the pension of 1,700/. a year and the 

render it in return for 30,000/. in interest of 30,000/.' 



book Viceroy's 50,000?. meanwhile melted away, yet no 
_ VL „ coast guard was established and no militia. From 
1778. pi raC y a t sea the step would be a short one to pillage 
on shore, and the country gentlemen began in earnest 
to arm their tenants and combine in corps for mutual 
protection. The state of the Channel was creating in 
England serious inconvenience, and English attention 
already roused on the Irish problem began to direct 
itself upon it in earnest. Lord Nugent again brought 
up the subject in Parliament. He was an absentee ; 
and it did not occur to him that his own duty was at 
once to return to his post. His patriotic perceptions 
had been quickened by the cessation of remittances. 
For two years he told the House of Commons that he 
had received no rents. The war had ruined the linen 
trade. The embargo had ruined the farmers. Artisan 
and peasant were starving. Land was offered at four- 
teen years' purchase and found no buyers. By every 
ground of obligation, by duty, by prudence, by com- 
mon human feeling for the misery of their fellow 
subjects, the English legislature was bound to inter- 
fere, and to remove at least the artificial hindrances 
which were shackling Irish enterprise. The North- 
ern millowners clamoured that the Irish were idle, 
and were starving by their own indolence. These 
interested coteries began to be listened to with less 
patience as the progress of the rebellion in America 
created an evidence so palpable of the possible conse- 
quences of misgovernment. The King recommended 
that, in consequence of the undoubted distress in 
Ireland, the English Treasury should undertake the 
cost of the Irish regiments which were serving in 
America. The message brought on debates in which 
both Houses agreed to demand an account of the entire 



condition of Irish trade. Lord Shelburne ventured chap. 
to say that America had revolted on far less provo- . — ^ — 
cation than had been habitually endured by Ireland. 1778 ' 
Lord Townshend, who knew Ireland, and knew what 
ailed her better than any of his hearers, spoke with 
remarkable feeling and eloquence, and implored the 
Peers to wake to a sense of the insolent cruelty with 
which the poor island had been so long afflicted. With 
keen antithesis he, too, like Shelburne, contrasted 
Ireland and America, the Irish patient under misery, 
which might have driven a wiser people into madness, 
the Americans rebellious in the midst of plenty and 
prosperity. Ireland, he said, perishing in the fetters 
which chained her industry, had petitioned humbly for 
partial release, and England had answered insolently, 
Break your chains if you can. The Americans had 
leagued themselves with England's inveterate enemy 
for her total destruction. To them England had said, 
You shall be free, you shall pay no taxes, we will inter- 
fere no more with you ; remain with us on your own 
terms. If these replies were persisted in, the Irish 
when peace was made would emigrate to a land 
where honest labour would receive its due reward. 
While the war continued they would require to be 
held down by force, and at any moment they might 
refuse after all either to buy English manufactures 
or export their own produce, and fleets and armies 
would preach to them in vain. 

The Irish counties supported by petition the argu- 
ments of their English friends. The grand juries 
represented that the fields and highwa} 7 s were filled 
with crowds of wretched beings half naked and 
starving. Foreign markets were closed to them. The 
home market was destroyed by internal distress, and 



the poor artisans who had supported themselves by 
weaving were without work and without food. They 
had bought English goods as long as they had means 
to buy them. Now in their time of dire distress they 
had hoped the English Parliament would have been 
their friend. They learnt with pain and surprise that 
the only boon which would give them relief was still 
withheld. They besought the King to interpose in 
their favour, and procure them leave to export and 
sell at least the coarse frieze blankets and flannels 
which the peasants' wives and children produced in 
their cabins. 1 Eloquence and entreaty were alike in 
vain. The English Parliament, though compelled 
at last to listen to the truth, could not yet bend 
itself to act upon it. The House of Commons still 
refused to open the woollen trade, in whole or in 
part; and Ireland, now desperate and determined, and 
treading ominously in the steps of America, adopted 
the measures which Townshend had suggested, which 
long before had been recommended by Swift ; and 
resolved to exclude from the Irish market every 
article of British manufacture which could be produced 
at home. 2 

1 1 Humble petition of the High 
Sheriff and Grand Jury of Wick- 
low, April 6, 1779.' S. P. 0. 

2 ' Resolution taken at the Thol- 
sel, in Dublin, April 26, 1779:— 
' u That at this time of universal ca- 
lamity and distress, when, through 
a total stagnation of our trade, 
poverty and wretchedness are now 
become the portion of those to 
whom hitherto labour and industry 
afforded a competency : when the 
emigration of thousands of our most 
useful manufacturers renders them 
acceptable and material acquisitions 
to other countries, and threatens 

ruin to our own; when, notwith- 
standing the most pathetic repre- 
sentations of our addresses, and our 
late humble petition to the throne, 
our sister country not only par- 
tially and unjustly still prevents us 
from benefiting by those advan- 
tages which the bountiful hand of 
Providence has bestowed on us, but 
even tantalizes us with imaginary 
schemes of improvement, and in- 
sults us with permission to cultivate 
our own soil; when the unjust, 
illiberal, and impolitic opposition of 
many self-interested people of Great 
Britain to the proposed encourage- 



The Viceroy, incapable of thought, and with a chap. 
mind saturated with vulgar English prejudice, could *' „ 
see nothing in this movement but the secret action 1779 ' 
of French and American emissaries, and was rash 
enough to dream of prosecution. The law officers, 
wiser than he, forbade a folly which might have 
caused immediate insurrection. Weymouth allowed 
the dangers of the merchants' resolution, but advised 
Buckinghamshire to be quiet and conciliatory. He 
bade him tell the popular leaders that his majesty 
was deeply concerned for his Irish subjects, and was 
occupied in devising means to relieve their distress. 1 
Meanwhile he desired the Viceroy to send him his 
own thoughts on the cause of the distress, and to 
collect the private sentiments of such of the servants 
of the Crown and other gentlemen as he could best 
depend on. 

The Viceroy complied. He collected the opinions 
of Lord LifFord (the Chancellor), of Mr. Flood, of 
Sir Lucius O'Brien, Lord Annaly, Mr. Pery (the 
Speaker), of Hussey Burgh, and last and most im- 
portant, of Hely Hutchinson ; and the papers drawn 
by these gentlemen, for the most part calm and well- 
reasoned, form the best exposition which exists of 
the poisonous forces which had so long been working 
in the country. 

ment of the trade and commerce of inhabitants of certain manufactur- 
this kingdom originates in avarice ing towns there, who have taken an 
and ingratitude. . . We will not active part in opposing the regula- 
directly or indirectly import or use tions proposed in favour of the trade 
any wares, the produce or manu- of Ireland." — Enclosed by the Earl 
facture of Great Britain, which can of Buckinghamshire to Lord Wey- 
be produced or manufactured in mouth.' S. P. O. 
this kingdom, until an enlightened 1 ' Lord Weymouth to the Earl 
policy, founded on principles of of Buckinghamshire, May 7, 1779.' 
justice, shall appear to actuate the 



book For himself Lord Buckinghamshire admitted that 
VL . his own view could be but superficial. In his opinion 

1779. i t \ ie g rea t leading mischief had been the rise of 
rents. The absentees were most to blame, but the 
resident gentry were in fault almost as much. They 
lived beyond their incomes. They had heavily en- 
cumbered their estates. Between absentee rents, the 
interest on mortgages, the interest on the now fast 
accumulating State debt, the profits of pensions 
and of the many lucrative offices held as sinecures 
by Englishmen, the aggregate sum sent annually out 
of the kingdom was out of all proportion to its re- 
sources. The soil could not be cultivated, the mines 
and fisheries could not be developed without capital, 
and the drain prevented capital from accumulating. 
Here, so far as the Viceroy could see, was the chief 
seat of the disease ; of the manufacturing grievances 
others were fitter judges than himself. 1 

Mr. Flood was hesitating and diffident, as became 
a patriot in bondage^ who was unable to speak his 
real convictions. Sir Lucius O'Brien demanded free 
trade, pure and simple. Lord Annaly, 2 an old-expe- 
rienced lawyer, selected three special influences as 
working for evil in Ireland — the trade laws, absen- 
teeism, and lastly, 4 the idleness and licentiousness 
of the lower class of people, which had been greatly 
increased by the Octennial Bill ' — a remark as preg- 
nant as it was unexpected. The patent remedy for 
Irish evils then and since has been the extension of 
what is popularly called liberty and self-govern- 
ment. The Octennial Bill was the first move in 

1 ' Buckinghamshire to Wey- naly in 1776, Chief Justice of the 
mouth, May 28, 1779.' Court of lung's Bench. 

2 John Gore, created Baron An- 



that direction, and had begun already to bear its too CHAP, 
familiar fruits. * — ^ — 
Lord Lifford was an Englishman, and was, perhaps, 177 ^ 
over partial to his own country. Like the Viceroy, 
he dwelt on the exhaustion caused by the remittances 
out of the country, the burden on the exchequer 
from so many useless nominal offices, the high rents, 
the enormous and unjust county cesses, which pressed 
so heavily on the peasantry, and the suspension of 
the linen trade, caused by the American war ; the 
loss, 4 too, of the great clandestine woollen trade which 
had been opened with America, 7 and had been the 
chief support of the spinners and weavers. The 
existence of such a clandestine trade, however, re- 
quired to be accounted for, and Lifford, feeling him- 
self on dangerous ground, concluded cautiously : 
4 The great cause, or some great cause, lies probably 
much deeper. The seeds of the decay which have 
brought us to our present state may have been sown 
long ago. I fear there may be some radical cause, 
not sufficiently understood/ 4 For remedy of pre- 
sent evils, nothing adequate can be found till the 
people of both kingdoms shall be brought to that 
temper and liberality of mind that they can think 
on so great a subject as citizens of the world, and 
feel indifferent, as one people, under one king, one 
constitution, and with one religion, 1 whether the 
manufactures of the empire are carried on in Down 
or in York.' 

1 This remarkable expression de- to restore Ireland to the condition 
serves to be attended to. Intellect, in which it stood before the Crora- 
education, property, political power, wellian conquest, has been the sole 
everything that could make itself result, almost wholly accomplished 
felt as a constituent of national life, now, by England's penitence for 
was still Protestant. To undo this, past misgovernment. 




book Pery wrote as a cultivated and moderate Irish- 
. — V . L ._ man. His country, he said, was either by direct 

1 3 3 d ' prohibition, or as a consequence of other restraining 
laws, cut off from trade either with the British colo- 
nies or with the rest of the world. There could be 
no commerce without assortments of the various 
goods which were in demand in the country traded 
with, and without free permission to bring back the 
produce of that country. Ireland's present produce 
was limited to linen and provisions. In the linen 
trade she had powerful rivals, and she was forbidden 
at present to send the most profitable branch of 
that manufacture to America, where there was the 
readiest market for it. Her provision trade had 
been violently destroyed by the recent embargo. 
Pery did not question the justice of the restrain- 
ing laws, but he ventured to doubt the policy of 
them. It could not be England's interest to keep 
Ireland miserable. England was the centre of the 
empire. To England the wealth gained in the extre- 
mities must necessarily flow. She should be ashamed 
to confess that she dreaded Ireland's rivalry. Her 
policy should be to allow the Irish to exert them- 
selves in whatever branch of industry best suited 
them, in common with their British fellow-subjects, 
and leave them to gather the harvest of their labours. 
This was all that they asked, and they ought not to 
be contented with less. Expedients might be tried, 
and probably would be tried, but they would fail of 
their object, and would only prolong the irritation. 
Let the restrictive laws be removed ; the Irish and 
English nations would then be united in affection as 
much as in interest, and the power of malice would 
be unable to destroy their harmony ; but the seeds 



of discord had been sown, and if allowed to spring CHAP, 
up would soon overspread the land. _ _ 

All parties were represented on the Viceroy's list. 1,4 ' 
Hussey Burgh was more advanced than Pery, though, 
perhaps, no truer a patriot. He was young, but just 
turned thirty, handsome, and with a large for- 
tune. His expenses still exceeded his income. He 
drove six horses in the Phcenix Park, and he was 
attended evervwhere by three outriders. He was 
indolent, but he had shown abilities in Parliament 
so considerable, that the Government had made him 
Prime Sergeant, rather to protect themselves against 
his hostility than in the hope of securing his sup- 
port. He was called the Cicero of the Senate, and 
at happy moments he exceeded even Grattan in 
pregnant powers of expression. 

4 It has come to this,' Hussey Burgh replied to 
the Viceroy's request for his sentiments on the Irish 
difficulty. ; England must either support this king- 
dom, or allow her to support herself. Her option is 
to oive in trade or to give in monev : without one or 
the other the expenses cannot be supplied. If she 
gives in money, she suffers a country of great extent 
and fertility to become a burden instead of a benefit. 
If she gives in trade, whatever wealth we may ac- 
quire will flow back upon herself. Were I asked 
what is for the benefit of Manchester, what is for 
the benefit of Glasgow. I should answer that mono- 
polies, however destructive of the general weal, are 
beneficial to those who possess them. Were I a>ked 
what is the most effectual measure for promoting 
the common wealth and strength of his majesty's 
subjects of both kingdoms, I answer, an equal and 
perfect freedom of trade, without which one of those 




BOOK kingdoms has neither strength, wealth, nor com- 
inerce, and must become a burden on the other/ 

1779 The contribution of Mr. Hely Hutchinson was 
the first sketch of a book which he afterwards pub- 
lished on Ireland's commercial disabilities, and which 
earned his pardon from Irish patriotism for his sub- 
serviency to the Court and Lord Townshend. 

1 You ask my sentiments on the state of my 
country,' he answered to the Viceroy's invitation. 'I 
see ruin everywhere; the rate of interest rising, the 
revenue falling, between twenty and thirty thousand 
merchants and artisans in Dublin alone reduced to 
penur} r and supported by alms. The public debt 
exceeds a million, and the interest is remitted to 
England. Rents have risen, salaries have increased. 
Pensions, annuities, the American rebellion, the em- 
bargo, all in their several ways, have contributed to 
our distress. But the great and permanent cause of 
our misfortunes is the restraint of our commerce and 
the discouragement of our manufactures. The chief 
produce of our soil is wool, which we are forbidden 
to work ; our weavers starve, therefore, for want of 
employment. Our principal material is a drug, and 
we import our woollen goods from England at a cost 
of 360,000Z. a year. Your people are jealous of 
us. You say labour is cheaper here and taxes lower, 
and if you leave our trade free, we shall undersell 
you in foreign markets. Why is our labour cheaper? 
Our people live on potatoes and milk, or, more often, 
water. Why ? Because they can afford no better. 
Were trade free they would earn higher wages and 
demand better fare. Underpaid labour is dear labour 
in the end. You do your work cheaper in England 
than we can do, for you undersell us with your wool- 



lens in our own market. Open our trade, and the chab 
prices of all things will then rise, labour included, v. — Jl— 
Our wool will be manufactured at home with the J x 
help of English capital. The chief profit will pass 
to you, but our people will prosper too. They will 
learn industry and grow in numbers, and be of ser- 
vice to the State. 

4 Your exclusion of us from the woollen trade has 
hurt you even more than it has hurt us. One pack 
of Irish, wool works up two packs of French wool. 
The French supply themselves with smuggled wool 
from Ireland ; they are thus able to undersell you 
everywhere, and your loss is then double what it 
would be if we exported our wool manufactured by 
ourselves. You have forced us into an illicit com- 
merce, and our very existence now depends upon it. 
Ireland has paid to Great Britain for eleven years 
past double the sum that she collects from the whole 
world in all the trade which Great Britain allows her, 
a fact not to be paralleled in the history of the world. 
"Whence did the money come? But one answer is. 
possible. It came from the contraband trade, and 
surely it is madness to suffer an important part of 
the empire to continue in such a condition. You 
defeat your own objects. You wished to secure a 
monopoly in foreign markets. You have not secured 
it. You wished to be the only purchasers of Irish 
wool, and the only sellers of woollen goods to Ireland. 
The quantity of wool exported from Ireland to Eng- 
land in the last ten years has been almost nothing, 
and we are driven to consume our native goods our- 
selves. As you have ordered it we can sell our wool 
and woollen goods only to you. We can buy woollen 
goods from you only. You impose a duty equal to 



BOOK a prohibition on our sale of woollen goods to you ; 

- u : — • you therefore in fact say to us that we shall not sell to 

l779, you, and that we shall buy from you only. If such 
a law related to two private men instead of two 
kingdoms, and enjoined that in buying or selling the 
same goods, one individual should deal with one man 
only in exclusion of others, it would in effect ordain 
that both as buyer and seller that man should fix his 
own price and profit, and would refer to his discretion 
the loss and profit of the other dealer. You pro- 
hibited us from exporting live cattle into England, 
at the time of the prohibition a grievous calamity to 
us. You thus forced us into breeding sheep, and 
by the restraint of our woollen manufactures drove us 
next into the practice of running wool. In vain you 
endeavoured to prevent it by penalties and seizures. 
The world has become a great commercial society, 
and if you exclude trade from one channel it will 
make another for itself. 

4 Your jealousies are of recent date ; not till the end 
of the seventeenth century was there ever an en- 
deavour to interfere with Irish manufactures. Edward 
the Third, Edward the Fourth, Henry the Seventh 
specially favoured Ireland. Neither of the Cecils 
discouraged us. Charles the First, the Protector, 
and Charles the Second desired especially to develope 
the woollen trade among us. Restrictive laws never 
answer. You maintain a corn law, and a corn law 
is only mischievous. The farmer pays dearly in all 
that he buys for the advanced prices which manu- 
facturers pay for corn. Enlarge your policy, our 
people will then increase and will grow more pros- 
perous along with it. Merchants, sailors, farmers, 
manufacturers will spring up in the place of spiritless, 



starving drones who are a burden and a reproach to chap, 
the empire in which they live. — b — 

4 Try the experiment at all events. It is to be 
hoped that the enlightened spirit which led to this 
enquiry will direct its progress, and that the repre- 
sentations of interested .individuals will not decide 
your resolutions. Commercial bodies are like other 
corporations in desiring to be monopolists. The in- 
terest of the dealer in any branch of trade or manu- 
facture is always different from or opposite to that of 
the public. To widen the market and narrow the 
competition is the interest of the dealer. To widen 
the market may frequently be the interest of the 
public, but to narrow the competition must always 
be against it.' 1 

1 'Opinions of Lord Lifford, Sir Perv, and Mr. Hely Hutchinson, de- 
Lucius O'Brien, Mr. Flood, Lord livered to the Viceroy in June and 
Annaly, Mr. Hussey Burgh, Mr. July, 1779.' S. P. 0. Abridged. 




book Meanwhile Ireland was arming, and arming in a 
— Zi— ' form which, however convenient to an embarrassed 
treasury, might prove embarrassing should Lord 
North resolve, after all, on maintaining the restraining 
laws. After Paul Jones's visit to Carrickfergus, 
Belfast applied to the Viceroy for troops. The 
Viceroy sent down sixty dragoons as the most which he 
was able to spare. The Militia Act had been passed. 
On the part of the gentlemen there was no objection 
to the Viceroy's enrolling as many regiments as he 
pleased. Sir Lucius O'Brien among others most 
strongly urged him to lose not a moment in pro- 
viding the country with its constitutional garrison. 1 
A governor, the most moderately qualified for his 
duties, should have known- that if there was to be a 
military force in the kingdom he ought himself to have 
the control and disposition of it. Lord Bucking- 
hamshire unfortunately was embarrassed for money. 
The taxes could not be collected owing to the dis- 
tress. The customs were yielding next to nothing 
owing to the collapse of trade. To borrow was diffi- 
cult, if not impossible, and to embody the militia 
would require a large sum. As matters stood, Belfast, 
Cork, Waterford, Limerick, Galway, were wholly un- 
protected. There were not soldiers enough in the 
country for the commonest police duties. The militia 
nevertheless could not be had for want of funds. 

1 ' The Viceroy to Lord Weymouth, June 30, 1779.' 



The summer was coming back, and with the summer chap. 
would return the pirates and privateers. Gentlemen - — ^ — 
who had property to lose grew impatient, and insisted 17 ' J ' 
that if Government could not protect them they must 
raise corps among themselves, for their own defence. 
Lord Buckinghamshire did not wholly like the com- 
plexion of the proposal. A few companies already 
raised had assumed a ^<xsz-political complexion, but 
it was impossible to forbid men to take care of their 
own property. If volunteer corps were formed they 
would be under the command of great peers and 
commoners who were men of property and were Pro- 
testants as well. The Catholic Relief made a diffi- 
culty in refusing permission. c The Protestants,' the 
Viceroy said, 4 might plausibly have murmured if 
they had been forbidden to arm in their own defence 
when the Legislature was protecting men whom they 
had so long deemed their inveterate enemies.' 1 

The Cabinet were clearer sighted than the Viceroy. 
They perceived at any rate that to allow an indis- 
criminate arming of the Irish people, or even of the 
Protestant Irish, in their present humour, was ex- 
ceedingly ill-judged. Weymouth wrote in haste that 
Lord Buckinghamshire must prevent the corps from 
assembling, that he must take their arms from them, 
that he must insist on nominating the officers himself. 
To this there was but one answer, it was too late for 
such steps ; perhaps, in the absence of a militia, they 
were from the beginning impossible. The movement 
had spread as if the whole country had a purpose in it 
ready prepared. To interfere there must be a British 
army, and there were not 3,000 British soldiers in the 

1 i The Earl of Buckinghamshire to Lord Weymouth, May 24, 1779.' 
S. P. 0. 



book island ; while the executive was so feeble, and the 
_ x 1 _ population so ill affected, that even in the quietest times 

177<) - a convicted murderer could not be carried to the gal- 
lows without a military guard to prevent a rescue. 1 

Every hour the problem became more abstruse. 
If the Protestants were to arm, the Catholics con- 
sidered the example worth imitating. They, too, 
began to form into companies, and had they con- 
tinued there would probably have been immediate 
bloodshed. Urgent representations, however, being 
made to their leaders in private, they desisted. Not 
so the country gentlemen. In vain Weymouth bade 
the Viceroy pour water on the fire. Corps was added 
to corps. The suspicion that the Government was 
alarmed increased the rate at which they were mul- 
tiplied, and as the volunteers gathered confidence 
from their numbers they began naturally to consider 
what effect their assembly might have on the public 
question about which the country was so anxious. 
It was said openly that in the presence of such a 
force England could no longer refuse Ireland free 
trade, and carried as they were off their feet by 
enthusiasm and excitement the chance for the pre- 
sent was gone of holding the Irish Parliament 
in leading strings by the old methods. ' The occa- 
sional favour of Government would not induce men 
to incur the odium of their country at so critical a 
time.' 2 The troubled Viceroy could find but one 
consolation. There were no symptoms of treason. 
The noble lords and gentlemen who were at the head 
of the movement were above suspicion of collusion 

w To Lord Weymouth, May 24.' to Lord Weymouth, June 12.' 
2 ' The Earl of Buckinghamshire S. P. 0. 



with the enemy. The country was never in better en a p. 
spirit to resist invasion. . — L — 

It was still possible to call out the militia as a coun- 1/7,) ' 
terpoise, and if the country could be considered safe 
from invasion the volunteers might, perhaps, dis- 
solve to escape expense. Buckinghamshire applied to 
Weymouth for money. Weymouth answered that there 
was none to send. The Viceroy must call together 
the Parliament. The Viceroy said that if he was 
ordered to call the Parliament, and to call it three 
months before the usual time, he would obey, but he 
would not be answerable for the consequences. Free 
trade would, in fact, have to be conceded at all events. 
There was no escape from it. 1 A demand for money 
for the militia might lead to further pretensions which 
it would be difficult to satisfy. 

In arming thus rapidly the country owed its escape 
from a dangerous adventure. The volunteer corps had 
been formed not an hour too soon. Encouraged by his 
exploits in the past summer, Paul Jones had col- 
lected a formidable squadron at L' Orient, a ship of 
the line, three powerful frigates, a sloop, and a heavy 
eighteen-gun cutter. 2 His crews amounted to 2,000 
men, and his intention was to land at Galway, Deny, 
and wherever else there was a prospect of plunder. 
He left L'Orient on the 12th of August. At the 
end of the month he was in Ballinskellig's Bay 
looking out for prizes, and had Ireland been as 
unprepared as in the previous years, he would have 
ventured undoubtedly a desperate exploit of some 
kind, and perhaps have roused the Western Irish 

w To Weymouth, July 12.' of 64 guns; the frigates, 'LeBon 
S. P. 0. Homme Richard/ of 40, the < Al- 

2 The ship was ' La Grande Ville,' liance/ 36, and the ' Patrie/ 32. 



book into revolt. 1 His many secret friends along the coast 
must have informed him that it was no longer safe to 

1779, risk a landing. He bore away to the North Sea, 
where he fell in with the summer fleet from the 
Baltic, and after a desperate fight had the honour of 
capturing two English frigates, the 4 Serapis ' and 
the 4 Countess of Scarborough/ and carrying them as 
prizes into the Texel. 

It was no slight thing to have protected Ireland 
from an attack by a force capable of such an exploit. 
The fresh proof at once of the reality of the danger 
and of their own ability to encounter it, added new 
impulse to the volunteer movement which the Viceroy 
had been forbidden to encourage. He found himself 
invited 4 by several most respectable noblemen ' who 
had formed companies to issue muskets for them from 
the Government stores. He asked advice from the 
Irish Council. The Irish Council told him that he 
must comply, and the muskets were given out. By 
the end of September over forty thousand men had 
been enrolled and armed, under no authority except 
what they might organise for themselves. Some had 
been raised by associations, some by the merchants' 
companies in the towns, most of them happily by the 
peers and country gentlemen. The result being that 
at a moment of national discontent when men of all 
creeds and parties were united to demand from Eng- 
land a repeal of her unjust legislation, Ireland suddenly 
found herself in possession of an army of her own 
which there was no force in the country capable of 

Under these circumstances the Irish Parliament was 

1 ' Depositions taken by Rev. Doctor Day, at Tralee, August, 1779.'— 
MSS. Dublin Castle. 



about to meet, and the patriot leaders had determined chap. 
that the occasion of their own strength and England's > — ^ — 
weakness should not pass from them unused. Not- 1/7 J ' 
withstanding the agitation which had been raised in 
England it self in favour of measures of relief to Ireland, 
the Cabinet were still unable to resolve on frank and 
free concessions. The Viceroy had been told at first that 
he was to evade the subject in the Speech from the 
Throne. He had objected humbly that to be entirely 
silent ' would indicate a settled resolution ' to concede 
nothing. It would be difficult, he admitted, to avoid 
creating expectations on one side or embarrassments 
on the other ; he proposed ' to be wary in his language 
and inform the House merely that particulars would 
be laid before them which would enable the national 
wisdom ' to devise measures for the relief of the kino;- 
dom; 1 but something or other it was necessary that 
he should say. Retouched, and rendered still more 
vague by Weymouth's pen, the draft of a Speech, 
conceived in this spirit, had been returned from 

The Viceroy's secrets were ill kept. Half his coun- 
cil being in league with the patriots, the purport of the 
Speech was known some days before the opening, and 
on a soft October afternoon, Henry Grattan, Denis 
Daly, and Hussey Burgh sate on the shingle beach at 
Bray, with the transparent water washing at their feet, 
to arrange the approaching campaign. Hussey Burgh 
being a servant of the Crown thought it indecent to take 
a leading part, and, after a general conversation, left his 
two friends to themselves. The address would natu- 
rally be an echo of the Speech. Grattan and Daly 

1 ' The Earl of Buckinghamshire to Lord Weymouth, September 26, 



book resolved on moving its rejection pnre and simple. 
The session was to open on the 12th. As the day 

177 - ) - approached the Viceroy's uneasiness did not diminish. 
The Council were called for a rehearsal of the 
Speech. Hussey Burgh and the Duke of Leinster, 
though they were both in Dublin, refused to attend. 
The plan of the Castle was, that if the address was 
opposed, John Foster 1 should move for a committee 
to inquire into the state of the nation, and that a 
similar motion should be made in the Upper House. 
The intention was betrayed, and at the advice of Barry 
Yelverton, 2 Grattan, when the time came, moved, in- 
stead of a rejection, an equivalent amendment, ' That it 
was not by temporary expedients, but by a free export, 
that the nation was now to be saved from impending 
ruin.' Hely Hutchinson, though no one in private 
had more effectively pressed on the Government the 
necessity of a radical change of policy, exerted himself 
to protect them from a hostile vote. Scott, the 
Attorney-General, spoke powerfully on the same side ; 
but the corruption on which they had relied failed at 
the hour of trial, as it deserved to fail. The purchased 
1 servants of the Crown ' fell from their allegiance. 
Hussey Burgh suggested that for Free Trade, if the 
Government disliked the word, might be read 4 opening 
of the ports.' Flood seeing the patriot tide was rising 
again, returned to his old allegiance, snapped the cords 
which bound him to the Castle, and with a half apology 
for having ever taken office 3 insisted that the amend- 

1 Son of Anthony Foster, Chief Member for Carrickfergus, after- 
Baron of the Court of Exchequer wards Chief Baron and Lord Avon- 
in Ireland, afterwards Speaker of more. 

the House of Commons, and created 3 He allowed himself tc say that 

Lord Oriel. 'the Vice-Treasurership had been 

2 Then a distinguished barrister, the unsolicited gift of his sovereign.' 



merit should go to Free Trade. • Ireland asked no chap. 
more and would not be satisfied with less.' In vain Sir — i — 
Robert Heron, the Secretary, pleaded that such amend- 1 ' ' ' 
ments could only produce ill consequences ; the friends 
of Government, purchased so expensively at the elec- 
tions, could not be expected to be more submissive than 
a Prime Sergeant and a Vice-Treasurer. The Castle 
did not venture a division, and the amendment to 
the address was carried unanimously. The next day, 
the 13th, the usual vote of thanks to the Viceroy 
was proposed. Against the Earl of Buckinghamshire, 
an innocent automaton, there was no quarrel, and it 
was allowed to pass. But Tom Conolly in the Com- 
mons, and the Duke of Leinster in the Lords, moved 
along with it a vote of thanks to the Volunteers of 
Ireland, and this was carried with enthusiasm. On 
the 14th, the Volunteer Corps of Dublin, with the 
Duke of Leinster at their head, lined the streets 
between College Green and the Castle, when the 
Speaker and the entire Lower House marched in 
procession to present the amended address. The 
Viceroy had appealed to Pery to prevent what could 
be intended only as a display of force. Pery said 
it was impossible, and advised the Viceroy to appear 
to sympathise. 1 

1 In the present disposition of the House of Com- 
mons.' Lord Buckinghamshire wrote rive davs later, 
• it will be difficult to resist the motions now in con- 
templation. Lnless his majesty in his answer holds 
out strong hopes on the subject of commerce, motions 
will be strongly pressed to reduce the Establishment. 
The Money Bill will be limited to six months. The 

1 ' The Earl of Buckinghamshire to Lord Wevniouth, October 13 and 
14, 1779/ S. P. 0. 



book Duke of Leinster, Mr. Conolly, and the Prime 
_ V , L - Sergeant are decidedly hostile to us/ There was 
17/1) * but one hope. Even in the midst of the efferve- 
scence, base motives were still at work with the 
more experienced politicians. 4 If some popular 
orator could be brought over ' the apostate members 
might yet be recovered. 4 The Duke,' he said, 4 has 
been with me this morning and presents his compli- 
ments ; his brother, the seaman, being promoted, is a 
point insisted on.' 1 

Unhappily, time pressed. The Duke's brother, 
the seaman, could not be made an admiral in a 
moment. Unless trade was opened Parliament would 
vote no more war taxes. It might even appropriate 
the existing duties to the payment of debt. Nay, 
having now a force of its own, it might abolish the 
military establishments. 4 You must give way/ 
Heron wrote on the 25th to Sir Stanien Porter, 4 so 
far, at least, as to open to Ireland the Colonial trade ; 
their woollens being legally exported cannot, to say 
the least of it, be more prejudicial to Great Britain 
than the smuggling them.' 

A frank answer from England would not, perhaps, 
have checked the torrent which had now broken loose, 
but at least it might have made the stream flow in good 
humour. An answer came on the 1st of November, 
but enigmatic as an oracle from the Delphic priestess. 
The King was said to be sorry for the distresses of Ire- 
land, to be attentive to her interests, and to be always 
ready to concur in measures which, on mature con- 
sideration, should be thought conducive 4 to the gene- 
ral welfare of all his subjects.' 4 All his subjects ' 

1 * The Viceroy to Lord Weymouth, October 18. Most secret/ 
S. P. 0. 



comprehended the monopolists of Liverpool : Irish sus- CHAP, 
picion flamed into a blaze; and on King William's — ' 
birthday, four days later, the volunteers, with the Duke Novemi r. 
of Leinster again at their head, paraded in front of the 
statue outside the Parliament house. Flags were dis- 
played with impassioned blazonries — 4 Relief to 
Ireland/ 4 The Volunteers of Ireland,' 4 A Short 
Money Bill,' 'Fifty thousand of us ready to die for 
our country.' More significantly still, two cannon 
were trailed round the pedestal, with an emblem, 
4 Free Trade or this: ' and amidst the roar of artillery, 
musketry volleys, and the shouts of ten thousand 
voices, Dublin intimated that it must have its way, 
or England must be prepared for the consequences. 

For once Ireland had a definitely just cause, and 
was strong in virtue of it. 

4 If the expectations of this kingdom are not 
received with lenity,' wrote the fluttered imbecile who 
represented the majesty of the Crown, 4 every species 
of disorder may be apprehended. Rational men are 
seriously alarmed. Those who were principal pro- 
moters of the volunteer companies feelingly lament 
their own achievements. You will pity the situation 
of a man who has laboured uniformly to do his duty 
divested of every other consideration. T\ r hat a re- 
flection ! that in the present critical situation of the 
British empire, the kingdom under my care should 
contribute such an addition to the already almost 
insurmountable difficulties of English government 
Oppressed with the reflection consequential to this 
idea, it is too much in addition to be fretted hourly 
with inadmissible solicitations, and to be obliged to fre- 
quently combat suspicions of a duplicity to the which 
my heart has ever been a stranger. Torn by a 




book thousand conflicting passions, it is a necessary duty 
to assume a face of calmness, and I must not risk, 

17*9. h 0W ever provoked by manifesting well justified 
resentment, to lose any chance of support to his 
majesty's service/ 1 

The House of Commons had shown spirit, but its 
fervour was not equal to the temperature out of 
doors, and required to be stimulated. The Attorney- 
General, Scott, 2 speaking of the demonstration on the 
4th, had asked whether Parliament existed to register 
the pleasure of the volunteers. He had been heard 
with more favour than the populace approved ; and 
on the 15th, early in the morning, a drum beat in the 
liberties behind St. Patrick's Cathedral. A vast body 
of artizans, armed with bludgeons, cutlasses, and 
pistols, gathered at the call, and made their way 
to Scott's house, in Harcourt-place. Finding that 
he had gone to the Four Courts, part of them re- 
mained to break his windows ; part followed to the 
courts swearing they would have him out. He had 
been warned in time and had taken refuge in the 
Castle. The mob, not caring to encounter the can- 
non there, surged off to College Green, beset the doors 
of the House of Commons, and, as the members came 
up, made them alight from their carriages and swear 
to vote for Free Trade and a Short Money Bill. 
The Mayor was sent for to the Speaker's chamber. 
In the afternoon a squadron of dragoons was brought 
down to the barracks, and at the Speaker's requisition 
the Mayor went to the doors to give them orders to 
act. The rioters had gathered within the railings out 
of reach of the horses. The unfortunate man no 

1 ' The Earl of Buckinghamshire 2 Afterwards Lord Clonmell and 
to Lord Hillsborough, November 8, Chief Justice. 
1779.' S. P. 0. 



sooner appeared than cutlasses were flourished over chap. 
his head : and he was told that the first word that he > — i— 
uttered to the soldiers was to be the last that he should 1 ' ' 
speak in this world. More discreet than valiant he 
shrank back into the passage. The dragoons, finding 
that they were to receive no orders, rode away as they 
came, the House adjourned, and the people were left 
masters of the field. 1 The volunteers, who had charged 
themselves with the peace of the country, might have 
gained credit by interposing ; but they preferred to re- 
main passive, and for an entire day Dublin was in pos- 
session of a band of ruffians. Yelverton, when the 
House reassembled the next morning with plumes 
somewhat ruffled, spoke in the people's favour. Scott, 
who had narrowly escaped with his life, called Yel- 
verton a 'seneschal of sedition.' Yelverton replied 
with calling Scott ; the uniform drudge of every 
English administration.' Grattan interposed between 
the angry combatants. The House asserted its dignity 
by a resolution condemning the assemblies of mobs 
to coerce the debates. The Mayor and Sheriff were 
called to the bar to be reprimanded for their cowardice. 
The Mayor said that if he had told the dragoons to 
act they would have used their sabres, and would 
have hurt some of the poor people. The House 
submitted to the explanation, the Speaker gravely 
saying that c the Mayor's unwillingness to endanger 
the lives of his fellow citizens mio'ht deserve com- 
mendation, but that if such violence was repeated 
lenity to the guilty might prove fatal to the 
innocent.' - 

1 'The Earl of Buckinghamshire mouth, November 16.' — Commons 7 
to Lord Weymouth, November 157 Journals, Irdand, November 17. 
1 1 The Viceroy to Lord Wey- 

b 2 



BOOK The tone assumed in the Parliament in England 
J^— did not tend to smooth the Viceroy's course. Lord 

l77,, Hillsborough, an Irishman who preferred making his 
political career in the more important country, had 
ventured to say, and say with apparent authority 
there, that Irish distress was a child of the imagination, 
or if real was due only to laziness. The war and 
the bankrupt state of the Irish treasury had made it 
necessary for the secretary to ask for additional 
taxation. Grattan moved at once that in the presence 
of so much general poverty it was inexpedient to 
grant new taxes, and carried his resolution by 170 
votes to 47. The secretary then asked for the 
ordinary supplies to be granted as usual for two years. 
The House, by this time thoroughly infected with the 
spirit of the country, accepted the amendment which 
the Viceroy had dreaded, and passed a Six Months' 
Money Bill, by 138 to 100. 1 It was in these debates 
that Hussey Burgh made his reputation as an orator 
by the famous sentence so often quoted. Some one 
had said Ireland was at peace. 4 Talk not to me of 
peace,' said Hussey Burgh; ' Ireland is not at peace; it 
is smothered war. England has sown her laws as 
dragon's teeth, and they have sprung up as armed 
men.' 2 Never yet had Grattan so moved the Irish 
House of Commons as it was moved at these words. 
From the floor the applause rose to the gallery. From 
the gallery it was thundered to the crowd at the door. 
From the door it rung through the city. As the 

1 A very full house for Ire- that they were open to negotiation, 
land. The whole number of mem- 2 These words are sometimes 

bers was 300 ; but some had seats quoted as referring to the Penal 

in the English Parliament; some Laws. They had nothing to do with 

were in the army; some always the Penal Laws, and related entirely 

were purposely absent, intimating to the restrictions on trade. 



tumult calmed down Hussey Burgh rose again, and, chap. 

amidst a renewed burst of cheers, declared that he . . 

resigned the office which he held under the Crown. 
4 The gates of promotion are shut,' exclaimed Grattan, 
1 and the gates of glory are opened.' 




book Lord North's Cabinet had to the last persuaded them- 
_ lbs selves that the storm would pass over. The King had 
1779, recommended Ireland to the consideration of the Eng- 
lish Parliament at the opening of the session in Novem- 
ber. The Ministers, however, had fought in both 
Houses for delay, till the news of the short Money Bill 
opened their eyes at last. They had not now to 
reckon with miserable Celts, who could be tram- 
pled on with comparative impunity. The iniquitous 
legislation of past generations had roused all ranks, 
both races and both creeds, to a common indignation. 
The resource of playing party against party would 
serve no longer. The first exasperation was vented 
upon the Viceroy. ' You send us the opinions of 
others/ Lord Hillsborough angrily wrote to him. 
4 Why don't you send us your own ? The King 
desires that you will let us know your sentiments 
immediately.' 1 

It was unjust to blame Lord Buckinghamshire ; he 
had already told Lord Weymouth, and he now again 
repeated to Lord Hillsborough, that if Ireland was 
to be restored to tranquillity, the trade restrictions 
must be given up, and that the repeal must be imme- 
diate and complete. 2 The intelligent part of England 
had arrived at the same conclusion. On the 1st of 
December Lord Shelburne spoke at length in the 

1 1 Lord Hillsborough to the Earl 2 ' The Viceroy to Lord Hillsbo- 
of Buckinghamshire, December 1.' rough, December 9.' 
Substance of a long brusque letter. 



Upper House of the abominable system by which the chap. 

affairs of Ireland had long been carried on. The Irish, - — ^ 

he said, were now determined to have their trade 14 l J ' 
restored to them, and he moved a vote of censure 
on the Cabinet for having delayed concession so 
long. Lord Camden followed him, insisting on the 
impolicy of alienating the Irish people at a moment 
so critical in the fortunes of the empire. In the 
Commons, Mr. Burke, with even greater effectiveness, 
contrasted the terms offered to America with the ob- 
stinate perseverance in wrong towards his own long- 
suffering countrymen. The Irish, he said, had learnt 
at last that justice was to be had from England only 
when demanded at the sword's point. They were 
now in arms with a good cause, and they would 
either have redress or they would end the connec- 
tion between the two islands. 

Opinion was pronouncing itself so decisively that 
the Ministers escaped censure only by pleading that 
the laws complained of were none of theirs. They 
were inherited from the past century. They had been 
wrought into the constitution, and Parliament had 
always refused to reconsider them. Acquitted, how- 
ever, of responsibility for the past, the Cabinet could 
only earn their full pardon by consenting to instant re- 
paration. The repeal of the Restriction Acts was pro- 
posed on the spot, and swept through both Houses 
with extraordinary spirit. A copy was sent to Ire- 
land before the forms were completed, to allay the 
tempest, ere it could swell into fresh acts of violence. 

; I congratulate your excellency,' wrote Lord 
Hillsborough, as if the credit of what had been 
done belonged to the Cabinet, 4 on this important 
event. On its being proposed to his majesty that a 



bo i EC commission should be prepared to pass this Act, his 
- V' * majesty declared that he would go to the House in 
1 ' ' person to give his assent to a measure conferring so 

considerable an advantage on his faithful subjects 

of Ireland.' 1 

The Irish Parliament meantime, while waiting for 
the resolution of England, had been usefully occu- 
pied. The leaders of the Opposition, if the Viceroy 
was to be believed, were as much as ever influenced 
by personal motives, and in a moment of success 
so sudden and unlooked for, were each aspiring to 
make capital out of it for his own advancement. 
' When,' Lord Buckinghamshire said, 4 the bravery 
and determined spirit which personally distinguishes 
this nation is considered, the little feminine jea- 
lousy and suspicion which they manifest in political 
business is scarcely credible. I have hardly ever met 
with the man who will believe that the whole truth is 
fairly told him. Every moment of attention which you 
show to an individual is measured, and a whisper is a 
mortal offence.' 2 Perhaps experience of the whispers 
of viceroy alty might in some degree justify alarm. 
Only a few weeks before, Lord Buckinghamshire had 
been looking for a road out of his difficulties by 
4 bringing over ' a popular orator. Whether honestly 
or dishonestly, however, the Opposition were now 
addressing themselves to the removal of genuine 
mischiefs. On the 1st of December the Speaker 
presented the heads of a bill aimed specially at the 
object which had been attempted unsuccessfully in 
the Catholic Relief Bill —the repeal of the Test clause 

1 ' Lord Hillsborough to the Ear 1 2 ' To Lord Hillsborough, Becem- 
of Buckinghamshire, December 23, ber 15.' 



in the Act of Anne. It had been anticipated that a chap. 
second effort would be made in the Presbyterian in- - — b — 
terest during the session ; and the Cabinet had ordered T) 1 ' ' 
the Viceroy to throw every obstruction in the way. 
But the House of Commons was no longer amenable 
to the usual influences. The Bill of Repeal was sent 
before the Irish Council for transmission by a unani- 
mous vote. If it went to England it was unlikely that 
under existing circumstances the Cabinet would risk a 
fresh quarrel on a secondary subject. If the measure 
was to be stopped at all it must be stopped in Ire- 
land, and the bishops in the Council, consistent to 
the last, desired to strain a power which it was 
doubtful if the Council constitutionally possessed, 
and suppress the bill on their own responsibility. 
The Chancellor, the Attorney-General, and Mr. Foster 
warned them against so dangerous an experiment. 
The bill went over, and this time was returned, and 
the Presbyterians — the right-arm of Irish Protest- 
antism, though never admitted to the privileges of 
the Establishment, and ensuring by their exclusion 
its eventual fall — were no longer insulted by being 
declared unfit to hold office, civil or military, above 
the rank of a parish constable. 1 

Another attempt was less successful. Xothing in 
the Irish administration was more scandalous than 
the tenure of judges during pleasure only. It de- 
graded an ofiice which ought to have been guarded 
most scrupulously from contact with parliamentary 
corruption into an instrument for controlling or 
influencing the Irish bar. It stood already con- 
demned in a speech from the throne. Yet it not only 

1 ' The Earl of Buckinghamshire to Lord Hillsborough, December 
31.' Secret. 



r.ooK survived, but Lord Harcourt had pointedly objected 
to a change, and every effort made by Parliament 

178 °* had failed. Hoping that they might now find Eng- 
land more pliant, the Commons again sent on the heads 
of a bill to assimilate the Irish to the English tenure. 
Once more this bill was rejected, the Viceroy tacitly 
admitting the character of the objection to it in a 
passing allusion. 

' As the having the commissions of the Irish judges 
the same as in England has been a favourite wish in 
this country, it was never, as I understand, thought 
expedient to oppose the heads in the House of Com- 
mons ; the reasons upon which those heads have been 
disapproved by his majesty's British servants not 
being of a nature to be agitated here even in quiet 
times.' 1 

Ill pleased that the responsibility of rejection should 
be thrown on them, the Cabinet had blamed the Vice- 
roy for not having stopped the bill in the House of 
Commons. Weighed, perhaps, in accurate balances, 
this measure was as important as free trade itself ; 
but it was a subject on which the Irish public had 
scarcely troubled themselves to think; and whether it 
was allowed or rejected was comparatively of trifling 
moment beside the all-important, all-absorbing ques- 
tion, Would or would not England abandon her com- 
mercial monopoly? The reports of the debates at 
Westminster had been read with passionate avidity, 
and had prepared men's minds to hear that England 
had yielded. Nevertheless, when the certainty ar- 
rived, when the copy of the Act of repeal was deli- 
vered and laid by the Viceroy before the two Houses, 

1 ' The Viceroy to Lord Hillsborough, January 26, 1780.' 



the news seemed almost too good to be true. To chap. 
these mischievous and wicked restrictive Acts the « — b — 
Irish had justly referred the wretchedness that 1780 ' 
weighed on them. In their impetuosity and eager- 
ness they forgot that when an evil had been of long 
growth, time would be needed for recovery. They 
conceived that the repeal would be as the removal of 
a spell, that Ireland would at once blossom into 
abundance, and every bare back be clothed and every 
stomach be filled. In gratitude for the so intensely 
desired boon, the wrongs of a century were forgotten 
or forgiven. Dublin was illuminated. Addresses of 
gratitude were sent over from the two Houses. The 
happy Viceroy reported that his woes were over, and 
that 4 no peevish question was allowed to cloud the 
sunshine of the brightest day the kingdom ever 
knew/ 1 The dispositions of nations unfortunately 
do not change so easily. 

1 ' The Viceroy to Lord Hillsborough, December 28.' 




hook The worst effect of unjust legislation is the difficulty 
_ V Y L — of retiring from it without causing worse evils than 
1780, those which are removed. Concessions necessary, 
because right in themselves, when yielded to menace, 
shake the principle of authority. The momentary 
gratitude is succeeded by the recollection that the 
wrong would have been continued had there been 
strength to continue it. The powers of State have 
been transferred for the time from the rulers to the 
ruled ; and the subject takes his own measure of the 
changed situation. He conceives that he has estab- 
lished his claim to be a better judge of what is good 
for him than those who had confessedly abused their 
superiority, and he proceeds at once to make fresh 
demands where justice is less clearly on his side. 
Hostile feelings and hostile lines of action begin again 
to manifest themselves. The superior power having 
sacrificed its pride and interest considers itself entitled 
to reap an immediate reward in a return of good feel- 
ing, and resents the persistence in an attitude for 
which it conceives that there is no longer a reason. 
Thus measures which promise best for reconciliation 
are found only to have made the breach still wider. 

A peculiarly unlucky complication at this moment 
spoilt the effects of the repeal of the restrictive 
Acts, and made England repent of having given way. 
The embargo had led to a clandestine trade in salt 
meat with France and Spain. The Irish farmer 
considered that he had a natural right to defend 



himself against robbery, and had found both pleasure char 
and profit in opening a market with the enemies of - — I— 
his oppressors. The embargo had been taken off. 1< ~ n " 
but the connections which had been opened could 
not be immediately broken. At the beginning of 
January it was ascertained that a Cork contractor 
was loading provision cargoes in the harbour, which 
were intended for the French fleet. Coming so inl- 
ine diatelv on what the English Cabinet regarded as 
an act of sublime generosity, they sent orders to 
the Viceroy to seize the contractor's vessels. The 
Viceroy was obliged to answer that if he attempted 
any such measure there would be immediate vio- 
lence, It was a practical illustration of the mean- 
ing of trusting the military power in Ireland out of 
the hands of the constituted Government. It was 
not enough that when England was fisfhtins: single- 
handed against her revolted colonies and a European 
coalition. Irish politicians should take advantage of her 
difficulties. They were choosing the moment when 
their requests had been granted to give active help to 
her enemies. 

"It appears.' Lord Hillsborough wrote sarcastically 
to the unlucky Viceroy. • to be little short of a de- 
claration that Government in Ireland is dissolved. 
Dependent as we are for information upon your ex- 
cellency, we know not what to recommend, and in 
this dilemma we are left to lament the unhappy 
situation of affairs. It is impossible to reflect with- 
out concern and astonishment that, while his majesty 
is taking everv step in his power to give satisfaction 
to his Irish subjects, there is apprehension of dan- 
gerous violence if measures are taken to prevent his 
enemies from receiving supplies from them, without 



book which they would find it difficult to carry on the 
_ VL _ war. We cannot bid you lay on an embargo in the 
1780, face of possible consequences, or send a message to 
Parliament which might compromise the prerogative. 
But is there no member who would have public spirit 
enough to stand up in the House of Commons, and 
move an address to your excellency to prevent the 
enemies' fleet from being victualled from Ireland ? 
I recommend your excellency to exert yourself on 
this occasion. Stopping these provisions is equal to 
the gain of a battle at sea, and may go further 
towards giving his majesty superiority over his 
enemies.' 1 

Lord Hillsborough should have known his country- 
men better than to make extravagant suggestions. 
The Viceroy laid his letter before the Privy Council. 
The Privy Council told him that 4 for a private 
member to move an address of such a kind would 
increase the general ill-feeling. There was but one 
course to be pursued. The Government must pur- 
chase the contractor's stores for the Crown.' The 
Viceroy was helpless. The House of Commons was 
under the dictation of the mob. 4 The situation of 
England was well understood, and they meant to 
take advantage of it.' He did not mean, he said, that 
4 the indulgences lately granted would fail ultimately 
of being of useful consequences to the empire.' 4 Bar- 
ring insurrection or something nearly resembling it, 
he hoped to get through the remainder of the session 
without fresh collision.' But he could succeed only 
4 by closet interviews with independent members.' 

1 ' Lord Hillsborough to the Earl of Buckinghamshire, February 6.' 



4 1 tell these gentlemen/ he wrote, 4 that however chap. 
distressing a quarrel between the two kingdoms >. ]' - 
might be to England, it would necessarily be sub- ^£ 
versive of the Protestant interest here, and ruinous 
to Ireland. As they are pleased to allow me more 
merit than belongs to me, I tell them this considera- 
tion should have some little weight with them in 
pressing measures which must render the remainder 
of my life miserable. I state myself as pledged to 
his majesty for the gratitude and full satisfaction 
of Ireland. I have not, indeed, in my despatches 
risked such an assertion, but I thought in so par- 
ticular an instance a slight deviation from fact 
meritorious.' 1 

The Cork contract did not stand alone. The suc- 
cesses of Paul Jones had fired the emulation of the 
Irish smugglers who had set up business on their own 
account. The visits of the American privateers were 
confined to the late spring and summer. The Irish 
were on the spot and could choose their own season. 
At the beginning of March two large cutters, the 
4 Black Prince' and the 'Black Princess,' showed them- 
selves under French colours in the Irish Channel. Th ey 
were Irish built and manned by Irish sailors. They 
had taken out commissions at Dunkirk, and, armed 
to the teeth, occupied themselves in stopping the mail 
packets between Holyhead and Dublin, plundering the 
passengers, sinking the bags, and holding the vessels 
to ransom. The ' Princess ' was the largest cutter ever 
seen on the coast, 2 long, black-sided, swift as a race- 
horse, and carrying eighteen nine-pounders. For four 

1 1 The Viceroy to Lord Hillsbo- 2 She was commanded by a man 
rough, February 17.' named MacCarty, of Newry. 



book months these rovers remained masters of the Channel. 
_ VL - Other minor craft started into similar activity. The 
mItcIi W a terford and Milford packet was taken, c our bishop's 
daughter on board,' and ransomed for 160 guineas. 
Waterford Harbour was practically blockaded : the 
merchants enquired ironically whether England had 
given them back their trade only to let it be de- 
stroyed by negligence : if this was the meaning of 
English sovereignty of the seas, the sooner it came to 
an end the better. 1 

The Viceroy described his situation as 'beyond 
measure disagreeable.' While alfairs were going on 
thus fatuously out of doors, the Parliament was 
equally busy in adding to his sorrows. On the 1st 
of March the Irish Lords and Commons were invited 
to express by formal resolution their gratitude for 
the repeal of the trade laws. Mr, Grattan, supported 
by Yelverton, intimated that if much had been done 
more remained to be done. The spirit of Molyneux 
was awake again. Ireland was still in bondage, so long 
as she was bound by laws to which she had not her- 
self consented. Poynings' Act must be modified. The 
Act passed in England in the sixth year of George 
the First 2 must be repealed, and Ireland's birthright 
as a free nation must be at once restored to her. 
The leap from regulations of trade to political 

1 Miscellaneous MSS. S. P. 0., 
March, April, May, and June, 1780. 

2 This Act, round which so se- 
vere a battle was now to be foug-ht, 
had originated in the Irish House of 
Peers having- presumed to act as a 
Court of Ultimate Appeal. The 
Act declared ' that the King- and 
Parliament of Great Britain had 
authority to bind the kingdom and 

people of Ireland ; ' and that the 
House of Lords in Ireland had no 
jurisdiction i to affirm or reverse' 
any judgment given in the King's 
Courts of law there. 'All pro- 
ceedings before the said House of 
Lords upon any such judgment 
were thereby declared to be null 
and void.' 




independence was across a chasm too wide as yet for chap 
the nerves of the majority of the members. They 
could remember that England had just done what 
was right and liberal. They could see that consti- 
tutional questions ought not to be forced at the point 
of the bayonet. Even the Duke of Leinster thought 
the time improper for political agitation. Grattan 
had argued that Ireland was still at England's mercy, 
that what England had done England could undo, 
and as to the unsuitableness of the time England's 
difficulty was Ireland's opportunity. The House 
could not at the moment rise to the level of these high 
reasonings. The address of thanks was passed without 
an amendment. But the vision which Grattan had 
opened had set the Irish pulses tumultuously beating. 
He had led the country to its late victory. He 
perhaps understood the condition under which the 
millennium would be realised, though as yet it delayed 
to appear. He had Lord Charlemont and Lord Carys- 
fort with him in the House of Peers. He had the 
Dublin mob with him outside the Parliament walls. 
His words were like the seeds sown by the Indian 
jugglers, which germinate in a night and are grown 
to fulness of stature on the morrow. Supported, as 
he believed, by the greater number of gentlemen of 
property, the Viceroy had perhaps not very judi- 
ciously confirmed Grattan's language by hinting that 
if Ireland was so inveterate!}' troublesome the late con- 
cessions might be rescinded. 1 The Irish in vapouring 

1 ( The epidemic madness so as- to reason more temperately. Very 

siduously circulated by Lord Charle- limited indeed is the number of men 

mont, Mr. Grattan and Lord Carys- of property who are not anxious to 

fort, does not prevail everywhere. stifle ill-humour : but the temper 

Even Mr. Stuart, of Down i the of the inferior orders is in unplea- 

iirst Lord Londonderry), is inclined sant fermentation. The tenour of 




book about liberty were less unpractical than they seemed. 
VL . They were not only determined to protect themselves 

ilf h a S ainst a reversa l of the late legislation, but they aspired 
to independence, that they might hasten the revival of 
their manufactures by retaliating on England with 
protective duties. The orders of the Cabinet were 
to oppose constitutional changes with all the power of 
the Crown, and to prevent any proposition tending in 
that direction from being transmitted. The patriots 
had chosen their ground for the next attack. Grattan 
gave notice that on the 19th of April he would move 
4 a declaration of Rights.' Mr. Bushe moved on the 
18th for leave at a later period to bring in a Mutiny 
Bill. Grattan's motion was to try the principle. 
Bushe's motion applied it in a signal instance. In 1692 
a Mutiny Bill had been offered by Lord Sidney to 
the first Parliament which met after the Revolution. 
It had been thrown out in a fit of ill-temper, and the 
Irish army had since been provided for under the 
Annual Act of Great Britain. Mr. Bushe's object 
was to reclaim for the Irish Parliament its suspended 

The Attorney-General opposed Bushe at the first 
stage. He protested against the imprudence of 
mooting so dangerous a question. He moved the 
adjournment of the House to get rid of it, and failed. 
Leave was given, and the Viceroy had to report that 
when the measure came on, the friends of Govern- 
ment meant to support it. 

The day following Grattan opened his campaign in 

my language is that England begins ing unreasonable and ruinous con- 
to feel an honest indignation at the cessions, tend ultimately to the 
absurd ingratitude of this kingdom ; rescinding of the favours conferred, 
and that the seditious ideas propa- — Lord Buckinghamshire to Lord 
gated here must, instead of obtain- Hillsborough, March 8.' 


form, for the liberation of his country, and moved the CHAP, 
two resolutions which became famous in Irish history. s_ L - 

1 . The Kino*, with the consent of the Parliament ^ ' v '' 

o' April 19 

of Ireland, was alone competent to enact 
laws to bind Ireland. 

2. Great Britain and Ireland were indissolubly 

united, but only under the tie of a common 

He spoke for two hours, and 1 with the greatest 
warmth and enthusiasm.' He denounced the 6th of 
George I. as a general attack on the rights and liber- 
ties of Ireland. He appealed to the terms which had 
been offered to America, to show how much might 
be extorted from England's fears if only demanded 

The Attorney-General rose to reply at a disadvan- 
tage in a House which Grattan had made drunk with 
enthusiasm. He | ointed out that the titles of half the 
estates in Ireland depended on British Acts of Par- 
liament, and must become invalid if those Acts were 
declared unlawful. It was unnecessary, he said, it was 
inexpedient, ungrateful, even dangerous and injuri- 
ous in a high degree, to agitate such questions. He 
moved the adjournment of the consideration of 
Grattan' s resolution till September, equivalent to the 
English six months. The Attorney-General was 
supported by young Fitzgibbon, 1 who was now be- 
ginning to take part in the business of the House. 
So long as there were real grievances to be redressed, 
Fitzgibbon, careless of his professional prospects, had 
gone with the popular party. But none knew better 
than he. bred as he was from the very heart of the 

1 Aftenvarls Lord Clare, and Chancellor, 
s 2 



BOOK Irish people, the meaning of the revival of an Irish 
nationality. It meant a nationality not of the Irish 

April 19. Protestants, but of the Irish Catholic Celts. It 
meant, if successful, the undoing of the work of 
Elizabeth and James and Cromwell. It meant the 
overthrow of the Irish Church, and in some shape 
or other a struggle for the recovery of the lands. 

Fitzgibbon's arguments sounded like foolishness. 
The House was in the humour of its predecessors in 
1641, when analogous aspirations after liberty had 
been encouraged by England's embarrassment, but 
had issued in the massacre and the civil war. Yery 
ominously a resolution of that Parliament was read 
out in the course of the debate, and was listened to 
with general applause. 1 Beyond the Attorney- Gene- 
ral and Fitzgibbon not a member was found to defend 
the legislative authority of England. Flood and 
Hely Hutchinson only prevented the resolution from 
being carried by appealing to Irish generosity not to 
bear too heavily on England in her distress. The 
House adjourned without a division, and agreed that 
the proceedings should be passed over without being 
entered in the Journals. 

It was 1 with the utmost concern ' that the Vice- 
roy sent over an account of the debate. 2 There could 
no longer be a doubt that the Mutiny Bill would 
be carried. The English Act was indeed already 
treated as of no authority. Deserters from the army 
committed to prison under it were released by the 
magistrates. The Privy Council told the Viceroy 

1( lt is voted upon question, established in this kingdom of Ire- 
nullo contradicente, that the sub- land, and according- to the lawful 
jects of this his majesty's kingdom customs used in the same.'— Corn- 
are a free people, and to be governed mons 1 Journals, Julv 26, 1641. 
only according to the common law 2 1 The Viceroy to Lord Hills- 
of England, and statutes made and borough, April 20, 1780.' 



that after the discussion of the 19th neither magis- chap. 
trates nor juries would enforce in Ireland a law — A — 
passed by the British Parliament. The ' Freeman's "j^ ' 
Journal ' announced that the inclusion of Ireland in 
the British Mutiny Act was a step towards establish- 
ing a tyranny. The soldiers were invited to leave 
their colours, and the gentry were warned against 
arresting them at their own peril. 

Mr. Bushe's motion was fixed for the 8th of May. 
On the 7th the Viceroy summoned the Council ; he 
informed, them that his orders from England were to 
resist, and asked their opinions. The attendance was 
larger than usual, and the answer was all but una- 
nimous. Agar, the Archbishop of Cashel, was for 
standing out. All the rest, English-born as well as 
Irish-born, the Chancellor, and the Duke of Leinster, 
Foster, Pery, Hutchinson, agreed that the Bri- 
tish Mutiny Act could not be enforced in Ireland, 
and that the army would fall to pieces unless the 
Government consented to let Mr. Bushe's motion 
pass. Opposition could have no effect but to show 
the weakness of the English party. 

This was not all. Private Members of Parliament 
wrote to protest against opposing it on the ground 
of the consequences to themselves from the support 
which they had given to the Government already. 
British authority rested on the army. The army 
without an Irish Mutiny Bill must disintegrate, and 
they would be sacrificed to the fury of the people. 1 

Finding himself deserted on so vital a measure, 
the Viceroy could only ask for time to learn the 

1 1 "We have resisted popular resentment, if the army, from the 
questions, and exposed ourselves to doubts now circulated, should be 
the indignation of the people at dissolved ? " — Extract of letter en- 
large by supporting Government ; closed by the Viceroy to Lord 
but who is to defend us against their Hillsborough, May 8, 1780.' 


book Cabinet's pleasure. When the motion came on, the 
J^i—* Attorney-General applied to have it postponed for a 
■ fortnight, and with difficulty obtained the House's con- 
sent, almost every one telling him that he would vote 
for it when finally brought in. Some members 
even in their places declared they would not, either 
as jurors or magistrates, * suffer the British Mutiny 
law to be acted upon.' 

4 The whole ten our of the debate,' Lord Buck- 
inghamshire said, 1 leaves no room for doubt that few 
inferior magistrates will dare— if they were so dis- 
posed, as they are not — to act under that Mutiny 
law. Whether their opinion is right or wrong, the 
effect is the same, our best friends being of opinion 
that opposition will but rekindle the flame. We can 
offer in the House of Commons but a vain and em- 
barrassing resistance. It will pass the Council also, 
and if rejected here it can only be by my refusing 
to certify.' 1 

Past experience had led the Cabinet to believe that 
the Irish meant less than they said. They set down 
much of what the Viceroy reported to them as mere 
braggadocio. Their orders remained as before. If 
Mr. Bushe's motion was so framed as to imply that 
the British Act was not in force in Ireland, Lord 
Buckinghamshire was to oppose it at every stage. 
Being made of weak materials, however, and evidently 
unwilling to interpose his sole authority, he was in- 
formed that if, in spite of his efforts, the Bill passed 
the Privy Council, c his majesty would spare him an 
unusual step,' and that he might transmit it to 
England. 2 

1 < To Lord Hillsborough, May 8.' 

2 1 Lord Hillsborough to the Viceroy, May 14.' 



The fortnight passed away. On the 2 1st of May the CHAP. 
Council was again assembled. The Viceroy laid be- ^ — — 
fore them the Cabinet's directions. He told them that 
if the heads of Mr. Bushe's Bill were carried, he ap- 
prehended they would be laid before the Parliament 
in England. He did not expect the servants of the 
Crown to vote against the motion. He did expect 
them not to vote against the Government. 

Finding the Cabinet more resolute than they ex- 
pected, the Patriots modified their purpose. Having 
talked so loudly, they were forced to proceed; but 
when Mr. Bushe produced his Bill, it was found to 
have been so drawn as to avoid a distinct affirmation 
that the British Act did not apply to Ireland. The 
language could be construed into an expression of 
anxiety, that the law existing already should be more 
efficiently executed. Even thus modified, the Attorney- 
General said he must oppose the introduction of any 
Bill whatsoever upon the subject. A division was 
forced, and he was heavily defeated. The heads were 
passed rapidly through the two Houses. The pro- 
gress through the Council was obstructed, but was 
accomplished at last, and the Bill was transmitted to 
England at the beginning of July. 

Again there was a pause, as there had been at 
the beginning of the session when the ultimatum was 
sent over on Free-trade. The excitement, however, 
was now far greater, the hopes entertained more 
ambitious, the general feeling more irritated. The 
army was a peculiarly sore subject. The towns on 
the coast, in fear real or pretended of the privateers, 
beset the Castle with demands for protection. Angry 
motions were made in the House of Lords. If 
Ireland was a part of the British Empire, Ireland it 



book was said had a right to be defended : while the handful 


— r— ' of Government troops remaining in the country 
Jnly. were demoralised by the invitations to the soldiers 
to desert and the impunity allowed to desertion. 

To assist England in coming to a resolution, and to 
let the Cabinet understand what it was with which they 
would really have to reckon, the Volunteers became 
confessed politicians. The Duke of Leinster took 
the chair while the Dublin corps passed resolutions 
that Ireland should be free. Ireland would make her 
own laws in her own Parliament, and obey no others. 
The Volunteers as Ireland's champion army intended 
to have it so. As if to assert in the most distinct 
manner that they owed no obedience to the Castle, 
and would accept no orders from it, they elected their 
own commander-in-chief; and Lord Charlemont, the 
most amiable, the most enthusiastic, the most feeble 
of revolutionary heroes, allowed himself to wear the 
title of General of the Patriot Army of Ireland. 

Their efforts at display were visibly connected with 
the plan too successfully pursued to weaken and 
demoralise the British regiments. As if to contrast 
their own brilliant condition with the shrivelled 
numbers and shattered discipline of the regular 
troops, they proceeded, while the Mutiny Act was 
under consideration in England, to hold reviews 
in the North. Lord Charlemont went down accom- 
panied by Grattan, who was now on every man's lip 
as the liberator of his country. The half Americanised 
artisans of Belfast and Newry, officered by attorneys 
and shopkeepers, glittered glorious in their new uni- 
forms. Ireland was free ; Ireland was a nation. 
The strings long silent of the Irish harp were sounding 
in the breeze; the green flag was blowing out with 



the emblem blazoned on its folds, ' Hibernia tandem chap. 
libera/ Ireland at length free: free with the help of « — 1~ 
the arms which had been begged at the gate of jjj^' 
Dublin Castle ; free from the fell authority which, not- 
withstanding its stupid tyranny and still more stupid 
negligence, had given Ireland its laws and its lan- 
guage, had prevented its inhabitants from destroying 
each other like howling and hungry wolves, and at 
least enabled them to exist ; — free from this, but 
not free from sloth and ignorance, from wild ima- 
ginations, from political dishonesty which had satu- 
rated the tissue of her being, and required stronger 
medicine to purge it than the shouting of 50,000 

No doubt, however, the spectacle was imposing. 
The English Whigs sent their deputies to applaud 
and admire. Lord Camden, whose son was to learn 
by and by the real meaning of these fine doings, 
came over as Lord Charlemont's guest, to make 
speeches about America, to bid the Volunteers re- 
member that England would never forgive them, to 
tell them that they must stand to their arms or they 
were lost. All was rapture — bearded men falling 
into one another's arms as brothers, in radiant tears, 
swearing that they would be free or die ; bowing 
before Grattan as before a saviour newly sent from 
heaven ; and hearing from Grattan' s lips the delight- 
ful assurance that theirs was the spirit which made 
liberty secure. 

But the last battle of the session had still to be 
fought, and the Liberator had to descend once more 
into the arena. August came, bringing with it the 
heads of Bills which had been sent to England. The 
Mutiny Bill was among them. Some concession even 



BOOK on this point the Cabinet had been driven to make, but 
• — r- — ' it was returning in a form deemed as insulting as it 
August was injurious. The right of the Irish Parliament had 
been allowed, but allowed for once only. In England 
the Mutiny Bill was annual. The heads of Mr. 
Bushe's Bill made it biennial. The limitation of 
time had been struck out, and the duration assigned 
to it in the Bill as corrected by the Cabinet was 

Eumour had been already busy with the report of 
the intended atrocity. Grattan, fresh from the tented 
field and the adulations of the Volunteers, gave notice 
that if the change had been made he would oppose the 
passing of the Bill in any shape ; the King should have 
no army in Ireland. When the House seemed to hesi- 
tate he threatened that if he was not supported he 
would secede from Parliament and appeal to the people. 
The fact proving true, he moved to restore the ex- 
punged clause — a motion equivalent to rejection, as 
the Bill must have been lost for the year. He 
was beaten by a large majority. 1 The Perpetual 
Mutiny Bill became law, and he did not secede. 
Irishmen sometimes say more on such matters than 
they mean. But in fact his assistance was required on 
another subject scarcely less important. The Supply 
Bill had returned also, and also, like its companion, 
altered. No sooner had the Irish trade been opened 
than the forcing system was at once to be applied to 
it. Ireland had suffered for a century under English 
monopolies. It was now Ireland's turn. She was 
allowed, under the new regulations, to import raw 
sugar from the West Indies on the same terms as 

1 114 to 62. 



Great Britain. But free trade was to no purpose if chap. 
England was allowed to conspire in another form . — > — - 
against Ireland's prosperity by underselling the Irish 2ngi»t 
sugar manufacturers in their own market. They had 
included in the Supply Bill a protection duty against 
British loaf-sugar, and this duty the English Council 
had refused to sanction. 

Had the Irish people been capable of reflection, 
they would have perceived that England was really 
protecting the Irish consumer from his own country- 
men. In ordinary times even the cry of English 
treachery would not have betrayed them into an 
illusion so absurd as that under which they fell: but 
in the delirium of imagined liberty they had parted 
with their senses. They could see only that England, 
unable to encounter them by force, was insidiously 
stealing back from them their victory. 

Dissatisfied with the vote on the Mutiny Bill, dis- 
trusting Parliament therefore, and responding, as it 
were, to Grattan's appeal, the Volunteers of Dublin 
assembled as supreme arbiters of Irish policy, and 
announced their pleasure and their sentiments. In a 
series of resolutions they declared that the alteration 
of the Sugar Bill and the passing of the Mutiny Bill 
rendered the expectation of free trade delusive, and 
contradicted the sentiments which they had believed 
would actuate the representatives of the people to 
emancipate the kingdom from the insult of a foreign 
judicature. The army was to be made the instru- 
ment of despotism to violate the liberties of Ireland. 
The Irish House of Commons had adopted the sen- 
timents of the British Privy Council in contradiction 
to their own sentiments. Such complaisance was 
unconstitutional; and therefore they, the Volunteers 


BOOK of Dublin, announced that they would not support 
— ^ — • the interest or protect the property of any member 
August. wno na d voted with the ministry on the late division; 
and that they would concur with the Volunteers of the 
rest of the kingdom in every effort which might tend 
to avert the dangers with which they were threatened. 

A committee was appointed to correspond with the 
different corps on the measures which it might be 
necessary to take, and delegates were invited to 
meet, ' to animate the kingdom to rise in support of 
the violated rights of Ireland, and the privileges 
which their treacherous representatives had basely 
sold to the infamous administration of Great Britain. • 
This singular commentary on the political capacity 
of Ireland's new masters, and on the effects of conces- 
sions however just in themselves to Irish agitation, 
was printed in the ' Hibernian Journal,' and as a 
practical consequence a spirit showed itself of the most 
ferocious hostility to the British regiments who were 
quartered in the large towns. Patriot ruffians whose 
hands were practised in cattle houghing used their 
knives in slitting the tendons of English soldiers 
who might be walking carelessly in the streets; and 
the local juries adopted as their own these detestable 
atrocities by acquitting the perpetrators when taken 
in the act. 1 The soldiers, finding justice refused 
them in the courts, took the remedy into their own 
hands. In Dublin and Gal way there were angry 
spurts of fighting. In Cashel one of these villains 
was killed on the spot by the comrade of a man whom 
he had maimed. 

On the members of Parliament, so rapid a deve- 

1 MSS. Ireland, 1780. S.P.O. So Act of Parliament was passed in 
far this practice was carried that an the following session to repress it. 



Iopnient of patriotism, coupled with the insults of chap. 
the Volunteers to themselves, produced for a time — 
a sobering effect. Already alarmed by the rate at Se p^!i,' c 
which Grattan was advancing, they were not re- 
assured by the visible breaking loose of Irish devilry. 
The Supply Bill was passed notwithstanding the 
outcry on the Sugar duties. Mr. Peter La Touche, 
who had taken the chair at one of the Volunteer 
meetings, was called before the Privy Council and apo- 
logised. The publications in the 4 Hibernian Journal ' 
were brought before the House of Commons, and the 
Volunteers' resolutions were condemned as false, 
scandalous, and libellous, and tending to raise 

Thus were the chequered days of the closing session 
gilded with a show of loyalty. Lord Hillsborough 
described the doings of the Volunteers as 4 the con- 
vulsions of expiring faction ; ' the Government was 
soothed into a belief that the worst was over; and 
business being now completed, the harassed Viceroy 
had arrived in port, with the one duty left to the 
House and to himself, to part with mutual con- 

' The satisfaction of Ireland at the prospect opening 
before it might equal,' Lord Buckinghamshire said, 
4 though it could not exceed, the glow of his private 
feelings. The commerce of the kingdom was now 
established on an extended and lasting basis, and 
future generations would look back to the present 
Parliament and the diffusive indulgence of his 
majesty with grateful veneration. The Lords and 
Commons, when they returned to their counties, 
would impress on all ranks of men the blessings of 
the situation, and would invite them to an industry 



book without which the bounties of nature were lavished 
' in vain.' 1 

1 / ,s ?' Platitude could scarcely have been carried further. 

ovember. # J 

The insincere illusion disappeared before the closing 
speech of the Viceroy was in the columns of the 
weekly journals. Finding Parliament so unpatriotic 
as to sacrifice the Sugar duties, the freemen of Dublin 
met, with the High Sheriff in the chair, and resolved 
as before that 1 non-importation ' was more bene- 
ficial to them than a nominal free trade. They would, 
therefore, neither themselves import nor consume, 
nor would deal with any tradesman who ventured 
to import, manufactured goods from Great Britain. 

King William's statue was the scene of a new de- 
monstration on the 4th of November, not as in the year 
preceding, with cannon wheeled about its base and 
Volunteers parading, but now decorated with saddened 
emblems — Hibernia weeping over the words Liberty 
and Commerce, and a scroll expressing a hope 4 that 
the virtuous resistance of America might prove a 
lesson to the British Ministry.' 

To Lord Buckinghamshire the autumn brought 
indisputable satisfaction. His own inglorious reign 
was brought to an end. Before his departure he had 
to wind up the accounts of his administration. 

It was not by appeals to manly or honourable 
motives that he had secured the majorities which 
saved his administration from disgrace and the Bri- 
tish army from dissolution. The sublime impulses 
which had governed the opening months of the ses- 
sion had grown feeble at its close, and the usual 
detestable list of aspirants for rank or pension was 
forwarded for the Cabinet's consideration. 

1 Commons 1 Journals, September 2, 1780. 



' Xo man,' the Viceroy said, in apology for the chap. 
numbers whom he was reluctantly obliged to recom- L 
mend, 4 can see the inconveniences of increasing the 178 °* 


number of peers more forcibly than myself ; but the 
recommendation of many of the persons submitted 
to his majesty for that honour arose from engage- 
ments taken up at the press of the moment, to secure 
questions on which the English Government was 
very particularly anxious. I feel the same about 
Privy Council and pensions, and I had not contracted 
any absolute agreement of recommendations either to 
peerage or pension till difficulties arose that occa- 
sioned so much anxiety in his majesty's Cabinet, 
that I must have been culpable in neglecting any 
possible means of securing a majority in the House 
of Commons.' 1 

The applicants for favours 2 were so abundant that 
some of them after all were disappointed. The fond- 
ness of the Irish for titles was like the fondness of 
women and savages for feathers and fine clothes, and 
the refusal was the more bitter because Irish opinion 
was lenient with the apostate patriot who secured a 
handsome price for his delinquency, but had no 
pardon for the dupe who allowed himself to be 
cheated of his reward. 

Viceroys unable to redeem their engagements were 
thus liable, in their own persons or their secretaries', 
to be called to accoimt by these exasperated politi- 
cians. A promise given to secure a vote could not 
be formally pleaded, and was thus treated as a debt 

1 ' The Earl of Buckinghamshire 
to Lord Hillsborough, November 
19, 1780.' 

2 The names of some of them 

will be found in a letter from Lord 
Buckinghamshire to Lord North. 
Printed in Grattan's Life of Grat- 
tan, yol. ii. p. 1G6 ; &c. 



i ii .OK of honour. Lord Buckinghamshire had been tempted, 

, isi - in a moment of embarrassment, into a negotiation 

X J 7M / with Sir Henry Cavendish, a noted free-lance in the 

.November, J ' 

House of Commons. Sir Henry had applied for a 
place on the Privy Council. Lord Buckinghamshire 
had answered that c the Privy Council was but a 
feather ; ' 4 he would do better than that for him ; ' 
and when reminded of his words, again promised to 
provide for his importunate suitor ' before he left 
the kingdom/ On the faith of these assurances Sir 
Henry had voted steadily with the Government. 
Time passed on; the day of Lord Buckinghamshire's 
departure was approaching, and nothing had been 
done. Sir Henry wrote to say he would not in- 
sult his excellency by the suggestion that he meant 
to evade his engagement. He appealed to the Vice- 
roy's honour. He reminded him of his exact expres- 
sions. 1 Had any common prostitute in office made 
such declarations to him,' he said, 'his experience 
would have been an antidote to deception, but the 
word of the Earl of Buckinghamshire he regarded as 
truth itself.' 

To this letter the Viceroy sent no reply. Sir 
Henry waited till he was on the point of sailing, 
and then addressed him again in the following 
words : — 

' My Lord, — On the 22nd of last September I did 
myself the honour to write to your excellency, but 
have not had the honour of an answer. I am not 
conscious of having merited that silent contempt. 
Your excellency, on perusing my letter, must have 
perceived that you have deceived and injured me. 
I earnestly entreat a satisfactory answer whilst your 
excellency shall continue in Ireland, that I may not 


be under the necessity of demanding one on the CHAP, 
other side of the water. ^ 

4 1 am, 178 °- 
1 Your Excellency's most obedient and 
humble servant. 

• To his Excellency ' H. CAVENDISH.' 

the Lord-Lieutenant." 

Lord Weymouth, to whom Lord Buckinghamshire 
forwarded this characteristic communication, sub- 
mitted it to "Wallace, the English Attorney-General, 
with a view to prosecution. The Attorney-General 
replied that Sir Henry at worst had been guilty only 
of a misdemeanour in Ireland, for which he could 
not be prosecuted in England. In Ireland the 
scandal of exposure would be certain — a conviction 
would be extremely uncertain. The matter dropped, 
and Sir Henry was left in possession of the held, 
with the satisfaction of having at least insulted the 
Lord-Lieutenant, though he lost his promised pro- 







book The embarrassments of England presented an op- 
- ^ L — port unity to the maritime nations of Europe too 
1780, tempting to be resisted. She had affected the so- 
vereignty of the seas. She had asserted a supremacy 
which galled their pride and irritated their jealousy. 
Her enemies and her rivals chose the moment of the 
revolt of the American provinces to humiliate her. 
It seemed as if the whole world was about to com- 
bine to disgrace and ruin the single island which on 
the map of the globe appears but a small appendage 
of the continent, divided from it by a thread of water. 
Spain was snatching at Gibraltar, and France at re- 
venge for her own expulsion from Canada and India. 
The fame of England's difficulties had reached her 
Eastern empire, and she was threatened with a re- 
bellion in Hindostan. At this crisis it pleased 
Catherine of Russia to strike into the quarrel, and 
to invite the sea powers which were not yet at war 
to form a league for the protection of the rights of 
neutrals — the right, among others, of supplying 
England's enemies with munitions of war. 

Into this league Holland now entered. Russia 
confined herself to intrigue. Holland made her 



possessions in the West Indies a depot of supplies chap. 
for the French and Spaniards and Americans. She « — ^ — 
became as actively mischievous as if she had directly 178 °" 
taken part in the conflict; and England, finding re- 
monstrances unheeded, and preferring an open foe 
to a treacherous neutral, declared war against the 
Dutch. Thus, without an ally left to her but Por- 
tugal, she found herself matched against the three 
most considerable naval powers of the world next to 
herself, who each, at one time or another, had en- 
countered her single-handed, and whose combination 
was rendered doubly dangerous by the support of the 
American privateers. 

That the Protestant colony in Ireland should 
select this particular moment to threaten a rebellion 
was not generous on their part, nor particularly 
glorious ; but it was not unnatural, and ought not 
to have been unexpected. The commercial monopo- 
lies were unjust ; they had existed so long that their 
inherent iniquity was no longer perceived. In sur- 
rendering them the English had made a sacrifice of 
pride and interest which, they conceived, entitled 
them to gratitude; but concessions extorted by agita- 
tion have never been followed by gratitude since the 
world began, and do not in fact deserve it. Under 
English rule Ireland had been demoralised and made 
miserable. The colonists might naturally suppose 
that if left to manage their own affairs they would 
manage them better. To manage them worse might 
fairly be thought impossible. 

And yet there were circumstances in their past 
history which, if they had reflected, might have 
taught them caution. They were aliens, planted by 
conquest among a people who, though in chains and 

I 2 

27 G 


book outwardly submissive, had neither forgotten nor 
_ \ L forgiven their subjection. Three times already their 
1780, ancestors or their predecessors, tempted by analo- 
gous wrongs, had turned against the mother country, 
and had united with the Irish nation in a demand for 
self-government. On each of these occasions their 
aspirations had recoiled upon themselves, and the 
result had been a fresh conquest, with worse miseries 
attending it than those which they had hoped to 
escape. The Norman families combined with the 
Celts to resist the Reformation. Of the descend- 
ants of the Normans more than half perished in 
the wars of Elizabeth, while the Celts, in the hor- 
rors of famine, were driven to feed on one another. 
The Scotch and English Protestants planted by 
James the First were provoked by Strafford and the 
bishops into joining with the Irish when England's 
hands were tied by the quarrel between the King 
and the Parliament. The result was a furious at- 
tempt at their own extermination at the hands of 
their Irish allies, and they recovered their estates 
and their homes only when Cromwell and an English 
army reconquered the island for them. A third time, 
in another form, the phenomenon repeated itself. In 
the reaction from Puritan ascendancy the Anglo- 
Irish nobles and gentry became violent Jacobites 
and High Churchmen. They preferred the Catholic 
Celts to the Presbyterian Scots, and by playing into 
the Catholics' hands enabled Tyrconnell to establish 
a Catholic Government. When the Celts were once 
more in the saddle they found themselves involved 
in the common proscription which refused to make 
distinctions among Protestants. A third time Eng- 
land was reluctantly driven to interfere in their 



behalf, and replace the supremacy in their hands. She chap. 
beat the Celts upon then- knees, and flung them into « — r — 
chains ; but disgusted with the ungrateful service. 
she threw Celt and colonist alike under disabilities 
which would prevent them from giving further 
trouble, and left the country to its fete. This, too, 
was not to answer to England. Strong nations trusted 
with empire over their weaker neighbours are not 
allowed to leave their duties undone. Anarchy and 
wretchedness had again produced mutiny and dis- 
content, and the Protestant colonists were once 
more dreaming of separation and a revival of Irish 

The question what that nationality was to be in 
their present heat they scarcely cared to consider : 
but that it was a very serious question was obvi- 
ous to all but themselves. Were some half million 
Protestants — for the Established Church contained 
no more, and Churchmen so far monopolized power 
and privilege — were half a million Protestants to 
remain a Spartan aristocracy, surrounded by a popu- 
lation of helots six times outnumbering them, whose 
lands they had occupied? 

Lord Charlemont and many another enthusiastic 
patriot saw no difficulty in this. He would perhaps 
have levelled the distinction between Churchman and 
Xo n conform: st Protestant. The Catholics — though 
he was in favour of extending their civil rights to 
the utmost — Charlemont never dreamt of admitting 
to political power, and believed it would be possible 
to keep them excluded. 

Grattan, farther sighted than Charlemont, saw 
early that an Irish nationality, from which the Irish 
themselves were shut out, was a paradox and an 



Bi >0H absurdity. Experience of the ductile character of the 
existing Parliament showed him that, while its com- 

1 ' ,s< K position was unchanged, self-government would be no 
more than a name. He persuaded himself that dis- 
tinction of religion was worn out, that animosities 
of race could be extinguished in a common enthu- 
siasm, that Celt and Saxon might stand side by 
side in the ranks, and present a common front to 
the British oppressor. Like other eager statesmen, 
he regarded the lessons of the past as no longer 
applicable. If it was hinted that when the Celt 
had his foot within the Constitution, when he saw 
the usurpers of his estates and the oppressors of 
his creed at the mercy of his superior numbers, he 
might revive the aspirations of 1690, Grattan 
replied only with disdain or with misleading meta- 
phors. The Celts, as he saw them, were spiritless 
and broken, the peasantry cringing before the Pro- 
testant squires, or, when they were kindly dealt with, 
loyal and affectionate. He saw the Catholic clergy 
in appearance humbly grateful for the suspension 
of laws which if executed would have forbidden 
them to exist. That in such a people as this, there 
would ha danger to the Protestant gentry, who, 
besides other advantages, had now their own army 
of volunteers, was an idea too preposterous to be 
entertained. ' Are we,' he asked, ' to be a Protes- 
tant settlement or an Irish nation ? ' and in his 
answer to his question he exposed the measure of 
his foresight. 

' The Penal Code,' he said, fi is the shell in which 
the Protestant power has been hatched. It has be- 
come a bird. It must burst the shell or perish in it. 
Indulgence to Catholics cannot injure the Protestant 



religion. That religion is the religion of the State, chap. 

and will become the religion of Catholics if severity < 

does not prevent them.' 1 7<s< 

Piece by piece the shell has been broken off. Has 
the Protestant bird developed power of wing in 
consequence ? Do the Catholics seem any more to 
admire it ? Let us look for answer in the Dises- 
tablished Church, in the obliteration of the Protes- 
tants in Ireland as a political power in the country, 
in the reduction of the Viceroy into a registrar of 
the decrees of the Vatican, and the boast of a cardinal 
that Irish nationality is the Catholic religion. 

Mr. Grattan was dazzled by his own brilliancy. He 
believed, or he affected to believe, that liberty, like 
the spell of an enchanter, could form a Legislature 
of pure and high-minded statesmen out of the Peers 
and Commons, with whose motives of action he 
was by this time familiar ; and that out of the dis- 
cordant and motley elements which formed the 
population of Ireland he could create a united, 
noble, and self-reliant people. If, besides these 
high flights of imagination, any more earthly 
and practical thoughts presented themselves, he may 
have believed that the day of England's greatness 
was over, that her star was setting, and for ever, and 
that his free Ireland might find an ally less dangerous 
to her liberties and equally convenient for her protec- 
tion either in France or in her sister colony across the 




BOOK So far as the realization of the hopes of the Irish pa- 
— ' triots depended on the progress of the war, the events of 
' the year 1780 were on the whole unfavourable to them. 
Though the Irish Channel was the hunting-ground 
of privateers, and bishops' daughters were captured 
and held to ransom between Waterford and Milford, 
England still presented an unbroken front to her 
many enemies. The Spaniards had blockaded Gi- 
braltar in the belief that they could starve out the 
garrison. Sir George Rodney, with a relieving fleet, 
seized a convoy of Spanish provision-ships in the 
spring, and fed General Elliot and his troops out of 
the stores of the enemy. In July he encountered the 
Spanish Admiral Don Juan de Langara at Cape St. 
Vincent, destroyed seven out of eleven of his ships, 
and carried Don Juan himself a prisoner into the 
blockaded fortress. 

Nor had the alliance with France brought that 
immediate triumph to the American provinces which 
sanguine patriots anticipated. M. de Ternay arrived 
at Rhode Island in July with fifteen ships of the 
line, bringing with him the Count de Rochambeau 
and six thousand men as the vanguard of a larger 
force which was to follow. France was preparing 
to put out her utmost strength, yet M. de Ternay let 
Admiral Arbuthnot blockade him with an inferior 
fleet, and the French contingent lay locked-up and 

The capture of Charleston had been followed by 



the complete submission of the Carolinas. Sir Henry chap. 
Clinton held New York in strength, against which — ?i — 
Washington could do nothing; and the unexpected 1/80, 
protraction of the war, which had seemed as good as 
ended, brought despondency and mutiny into the 
American camp. General Arnold, who had headed 
the expedition into Canada, the most distinguished 
after Washington of the patriot commanders, believed 
the cause to be lost. He opened a correspondence 
with Clinton, proposed to betray West Point to him, 
and with West Point the controul of the Hudson. 
The plot was discovered. Arnold escaped into the 
English lines. Major Andre, Clinton's aide-de-camp, 
through whom the negociation was carried on, was 
taken and hanged. But the disappointment did 
not materially alter the prospects of the contend- 
ing parties. Arnold published a defence of his de- 
sertion, in which he pretended that England by her 
concessions had removed the occasion of the quarrel, 
and that under no circumstances would he be a 
party to the French alliance or assist in betray- 
ing the mother country to her hereditary enemy. 
Having returned to his allegiance, he took active ser- 
vice under Clinton, and led an expeditionary force into 
Virginia, which at first carried all before it. In 
January, 178 I . the American army almost dissolved 
for want of pay, and but for the timely arrival of a 
subsidy from France, would have been unable to 
offer opposition in the field in any part of the Con- 
tinent to the British divisions. The supply of 
money gave new spirit to the cause. Washington re- 
equipped his troops. La Fayette went down to 
Virginia with part of the French army tc oppose 
Arnold. De Ternay broke the blockade, and made 



book his way to the Chesapeake with the rest, intending to 
— < co-operate. Still the balance wavered. Arbuthnot 
178 L pursued him and fought an action which, though 
indecisive, disabled him from proceeding. The French 
fleet returned to Rhode Island, General Phillips 
carried reinforcements to Arnold, and in March, 
1781, Washington's own State, notwithstanding La 
Fayette, remained in possession of the British. 

The Dutch, too, were paying dear for having thrust 
themselves into a quarrel which was none of theirs. 
No sooner was war declared against them than Rodney 
seized St . Eustatius, the most important of their West 
India islands, where they had accumulated enormous 
stores for shipment to America. Ships, factories, 
warehouses, all were taken. Three millions' worth of 
property was captured or destroyed. 

From India, too, came cheering news. Sir Eyre 
Coote twice defeated Hyder Ali. Warren Hastings 
was triumphing in spite of France and Mysore, and 
passionate philanthropists at home. 

The French, finding the work less easy than they 
expected, began to hint at peace ; and it was felt pain- 
fully by all parties that unless some combined and 
vigorous effort could be made, and made at once, 
Saratoga would be a barren triumph, and Bunker's 
Hill and Lexington would have been fought in vain. 
England, too, was strained to the utmost of her power. 
Lord George Germaine, her Minister at War, was 
incompetent beyond the average of Parliamentary 
administrators. The waste had been enormous. The 
national debt was piling up into a mountain, and the 
simultaneous requirements of India, Gibraltar, and 
the Navy, rendered it a hard task to keep Clinton 
properly reinforced. One more attempt should be 



made, at any rate. In the summer of 1780 the chap. 

united French and Spanish fleets — thirty-six sail of -- U t ' 

the line in all — had sailed for the West Indies, with a 
view of taking Jamaica, and then of attacking Clinton 
at New York. Heat and overcrowding had brought 
disease. They returned, having done nothing. In 
1781 the two fleets sailed again under Count de 
Grasse. Jamaica, as before, was to be their first 
object ; but, whether successful at Jamaica or not, de 
Grasse was to assist Washington and De Rochambeau 
in a grand attack by sea and land upon New York. 
If the attack was successful, it would conclude the 
war. If it failed, France would probably decline to 
pursue the adventure further, and fortune this time 
was more favourable than the most sanguine hopes 
could have anticipated. 

Lord Cornwallis, who had served in America from 
the beginning of the war, still commanded in the 
Carolinas, which he was endeavouring to bring to 
formal submission. The Americans, unable since the 
defeat at Camden to meet the British in the field, 
were able to harass their marches, surprise isolated 
detachments, and maintain a spirited if irregular re- 
sistance. Cornwallis found himself unable, with all 
his exertions, to restore a regular government, or unite 
the loyal part of the inhabitants of those states. The 
defeat of General Tarleton at Cow Pens was none 
the less a serious blow that it was due to carelessness 
and over- confidence. The small number of troops 
engaged on both sides were lost in the enormous 
territory for which they were contending, and the 
soldiers wasted away in profitless marches and 
malaria. Finding it necessary to attempt something 
more effective, the English General determined, 



book though with no very definite object, on a bold ad- 

_JJ£ . venture. He proposed to establish a communication 

1781. Arnold in Virginia, and place a line of military 

posts between Charleston and Petersburgh. He 
took the field at the beginning of March, 1781, with 
some misgiving, but on the whole sanguine. He 
inflicted a severe defeat on General Greene on the 
15th at Guildford, and leaving Lord Rawdon 1 to keep 
order in South Carolina, he moved on himself to 
Wilmington. American armies recovered quickly 
from their losses. Greene doubled back in his rear, 
and though again defeated on the 19th of April, 
forced Rawdon afterwards into Charleston, and 
picked up the detachments which Cornwallis had left 
to keep open his communications. As Burgoyne had 
been cut off from Lake Champlain, so Cornwallis was 
now separated from his base of supplies in South Ca- 
rolina, and was forced to push forward with his best 
speed into Virginia. He reached Petersburgh on the 
20th of May, where he found Arnold. Clinton had 
sent him 1,500 men from New York, which raised 
his entire numbers to 7,000. He was more than a 
match in the field for any power which La Fayette 
could then bring against him ; and as long as the sea 
was open and the English were masters of it, he was 
in no danger of a want of supplies. But he confessed 
himself 4 totally in the dark ' as to what he was gene- 
rally to do ; he was i weary of marching about the 
country in quest of adventure,' 2 and was anxious for 
orders from New York. 1 Orders ' were what Clinton 
was just then unable to give; he had just heard that 
de Grasse had sailed, and that he was himself in dan- 

1 Earl of Moira afterwards. Clinton, April 10, 1780.' — Corn- 

2 Lord Cornwallis to Sir Henry wallis Despatches, vol. i. p. 87. 



ger of being attacked by sea and land. He had not chap. 
another man to spare ; he therefore recommended — ^ — 
Cornwallis to occupy some strong position on the 1/8] * 
coast, where he would be within reach, and hold him- 
self readv to embark for New York, Such vaime 
directions were not of happy omen. Cornwallis, how- 
ever, obeyed, and entrenched himself at Yorktown, in 
Virginia, where the York river runs into the Chesa- 
peake, waiting for the arrival of a promised English 

No English General can believe himself in danger 
when he is touching the sea. For once, through a 
combination of accidents, England was found wanting 
in her own peculiar domain. The English squadron 
never reached the Chesapeake, but de Grasse and the 
French and Spaniards came instead of it. Rodney 
had gone to England with the spoils of St. Eusta- 
tius, and had not returned to his station. De 
Grasse, when he arrived with the combined fleet of 
France and Spain, found himself stronger than any 
force which England could at that moment bring 
into line on the American coast. Admiral Graves 
came down with the ships lying at New York, and 
with a far inferior force ventured an engagement. 
He was not defeated, but he suffered heavily, and was 
obliged to draw off, while de Grasse closed the mouth 
of the net in which Cornwallis was by this time 
enclosed. 1 

Washington, joined by the French at Ehode 
Island, instead of attacking New York, had pushed 
down by forced marches into Virginia. Escape by 
sea was impossible. There were a few days in which, 

1 August 20. 



book before the lines of investment were drawn close about 
- V T L him, Cornwallis might have at least attempted to 
1781 ' escape the fate impending on him. Before Wash- 
ington arrived on the scene he was still superior to 
La Fayette. By an instant and rapid movement he 
might have broken through, perhaps have effected a 
retreat to Carolina, or even with exceptional daring 
have cut his way by land through Pennsylvania. But 
Cornwallis, though a brave and solid general, was 
without the qualities of genius which are needed for 
sudden emergencies. Half his men had sickened 
from the unhealthy vapours of the York river, and 
if he moved he must have left his sick behind him. 
Clinton misled him by cheering messages that help 
might be looked for, and he continued to wait for its 
coming till Washington had drawn his lines across 
the neck of the Peninsula on which the British were 
lying, and with 10,000 Americans and 7,000 French 
completed the hopeless blockade. Under these con- 
ditions Lord Cornwallis did what might have been 
expected from an honourable man of sense and in- 
tegrity. He held his ground till the enemies' trenches 
had been pushed close, and their cannon searched 
every corner of the British encampment. When 
further resistance was impossible, and the result of 
prolonging the struggle could have been only a 
useless sacrifice of brave men's lives, the American 
war was brought on the 19th of October to its virtual 
close, by the second surrender of an English General 
and an English army. 




The Earl of Carlisle and Mr. Eden, 1 the unsuc- chap. 
cessful commissioners to America, were selected to « — ^ — 
succeed Lord Buckinghamshire and Sir R. Heron, as 1 
Viceroy and Secretary at Dublin Castle. Four years 
of such ungrateful service tried the patience of the 
most enduring public servants, each Viceroy finding 
the post more difficult, and the shifts more detestable, 
by which alone the Government could be carried on. 
After Lord Buckinghamshire's departure the Volun- 
teers, who now looked on themselves as the real 
rulers of the country, elected a second Legislature of 
their own. They passed resolutions condemning the 
House of Commons. They clamoured against the 
removal of the sugar duties. They saw in the Per- 
petual Mutiny Bill a base surrender of the liberties of 
Ireland. The language in which they expressed 
their views was of the choicest Hibernian type, and 
the patriotic newspapers which reported their pro- 
ceedings were filling their columns with outpourings 
of mere treason. Prosecutions were talked of ; but 
the Leinster corps interspersing their politics with 
reviews and displays of force, prudence was stronger 
than valour. 

The aristocracy, many of whom had taken a lead 
at the beginning of the movement, were frightened at 
the power which they had created. ' Wild notions of 
Republicanism' were abroad — borrowed from America ; 
vague ideas of rights of man, not yet thrown into 

1 Afterwards Lord Auckland. 


book shape by Tom Paine, but seething and fermenting in 

, the Presbyterian blood in the north. Lord Carlisle, 

J " 8L after a month's experience, reported a conviction 
growing 4 among a variety of men of the greatest, 
weight in the kingdom,' ' that for their own security 
they must support the English Government,' that 
4 the power must be regained from the people which, 
if it remained in their hands, would be the ruin of the 
state.' 1 Concession which was to have made Ireland 
eternally loyal, had resulted in 4 the obliteration of 
respect essential to Government from the minds of 
the people.' Free trade was to have been 4 a horn of 
plenty.' It occurred to no one that trade could not 
grow, like a mushroom, in a night. The expected 
plenty was still absent, and the people c were taught 
to believe ' that it was still British legislation which 
forbade the fountain to flow. 2 4 The men of the greatest 
weight,' too, though they feared what was coming 
and wished Government to exert itself, did not care 
to compromise themselves by public action. In re- 
volutions the centre of gravity changes. The privi- 
leged orders feel dimly that their consequence is 
passing from them. They are in the presence of 
forces which they do not understand and fear to en- 
counter. Lord Carlisle complained that 4 the higher 
classes stood aloof from him ; ' while discontent grew 
louder, and the Volunteers, more and more disdaining 
disguise, spoke of themselves as the defenders of the 
country 4 against foreign and domestic enemies ' — the 
domestic enemy 4 being the Parliament of Great 
Britain and the supporters of the Government in 
Ireland.' 3 

1 ' The Earl of Carlisle to Lord 2 1 To Lord Hillsborough, March 
Hillsborough, January 29, 1781.' 29,1782.' A retrospective letter. 
S. P. 0. 3 Ibid. 



If this state of things was scarcely tolerable in the chap. 
recess, it would necessarily be infinitely worse when • — -J. — 
the period arrived for the Irish Legislature to re- 1781# 
assemble, which the usual leading-strings were now 
obviously unable to guide. Repeal of Poynings' Act, 
repeal of the 6th of George the First, a bill of rights, 
and none could say how many more such bills, were 
preparing in Grattan's laboratory, and would have to 
be met in the midst of a universal hubbub, under the 
muskets of the Volunteers, now said to number a 
hundred thousand. Hillsborough, when the Viceroy 
consulted him, advised a free use of ' secret service 
money.' But where in Ireland did a subterranean* 
Pactolus flow? Lord Carlisle, or Mr. Eden for him,, 
replied in sorrow, ' that he could take no money 
from the Irish treasury without accounting for it.' 
Ireland having no foreign relations 4 he had no con- 
stitutional pretext of foreign service ; ' £ and the mis- 
chief,' he pathetically said, ' which had long resulted 
from this was not to be described.' 4 In the present 
state of the country the wise application of 3,000£. a 
year might be of a degree of importance to his ma- 
jesty's affairs beyond what words could estimate.' 
There was in fact but one resource. He must be 
supplied from England. i Lord Carlisle must be per- 
mitted to draw on Mr. Robinson for sums to be 
applied to his majesty's service and the effective con- 
duct of Government : Lord North, in return, might 
expect an ample compensation to his majesty by 
grant or pension from Ireland at a proper time to 
such persons as his majesty would otherwise provide 
for from his English revenue.' 1 

1 'In short, my dear lord/ this matter is of extreme moment; but if 
singular letter concluded, 1 this Lord North; whose dispositions to- 




book As the summer advanced the aspect of things grew 
, V , L „ steadily darker. Every ship that England could 
1781, spare from her home defences was in the West Indies 
or at New York, or relieving Gibraltar, or watching 
the Dutch. Ireland, so anxious to relieve England of 
her internal garrison, provided no volunteers upon 
the water. The mouth of Waterford Harbour was 
held by a fleet of privateers, who lay undisturbed 
there, preying upon the passing vessels. When it 
was rumoured that the French meant to send an 
expedition against Cork, a few volunteers offered their 
services. The offer, it will be seen, came to nothing, 
though the Government received it as well meant, 
and as indicating feelings not utterly disloyal. 

By September the patriots had laid out the plan of 
their campaign. An attack was to be made on 
Poynings' Act ; the biennial clause was to be re- 
stored to the Mutiny Bill ; and to counterbalance the 
declaratory Act of the 6th of George the First, Mr. 
Grattan meant to move a Declaration of Parliamentary 
Independence. On Poynings' Act and the Mutiny Bill 
Lord Carlisle felt comparatively easy. The temper 
of the House had been tried on both subjects in the 
last session, with satisfactory results. The Declaration 
of Independence had a charm for the ears of Irishmen 
which made the Constitution on this side far more 
vulnerable ; and he saw that his utmost efforts would 
be necessary if it was to be successfully resisted. 
Whether Eden received the powers which he desired 
of drawing on the English exchequer is uncertain. 
Other points, however, were looked for on which 

wards us, both officially and per- others, and go on as we can.' — 'Mr. 

sonally, are not unkind, does not Eden to Lord Hillsborough, July 

fully feel its importance, we have 15, 1781. Most secret.' 
only to meet this difficulty with 



popular prejudices might be humoured. The sugar CHAE. 
duty question would certainly be revived. If the > u ' _ 
Irish consumer wished to pay an extra price for his 1781 * 
sugar to benefit his country's trade, Lord Carlisle 
thought he might be indulged. A vote of thanks might 
be given graciously to the Volunteers ; and his hands 
would be strengthened, he said, if he might consent 
at last to the change in the judges' tenure. There 
was no modern instance of a judge's dismissal, and it 
was hard to assign a producible reason for placing 
the Irish bench in a different position from that of 
their brethren in England. 1 

To these suggestions the Cabinet had but one 
answer. With enemies on all sides of them, they stood 
to their old policy of uncompromising resistance. It 
was a matter of course that the Viceroy should be 
instructed to oppose constitutional changes, to resist 
a Declaration of Independence, to resist attacks on the 
securities for the good behaviour of the Irish Par- 
liament. But the small acts of grace which Lord Car- 
lisle recommended to soothe and satisfy the minds of 
moderate men were, it seemed, equally distasteful. 
The Volunteers might be thanked if it were insisted 
on, but there were to be no taxes on manufactured 
sugar ; and 4 as to giving the Irish judges the same 
position which the judges had in England,' 'the 
King's servants had to observe that nothing could be 
more dangerous and improper than such an act, with- 
out the clauses which were inserted by the Privy 
Council in the former bill, on which it was thrown 
out by the House of Commons in Ireland.' 2 

The Viceroy was thus thrown on his own resources 

1 1 The Earl of Carlisle to Lord 2 1 Lord Hillsborough to the Earl 
Weymouth, September 15. Most of Carlisle, September 1781.' 
secret. ~ 

TT 2 



book to meet the storm, of which the sounds of the ap- 
— — - proach were every moment becoming more audible. 
1 " s 1 ' The Volunteers had continued their reviews through 
the summer into the autumn, to the infinite satis- 
faction of admiring Ireland. The Ulster corps, with 
Lord Charleraont at their head, paraded at Belfast in 
the presence of 6,000 spectators. The officers pre- 
sented, an address to the commander-in-chief, and 
Charlemont replied with corresponding flattery. 

c I behold,' he said, 4 a powerful army, self-raised, 
self-clothed, self-paid ; disciplined by its own efforts, 
so that the most experienced veteran must admire. 
I behold my country, fearless of invasion, formidable 
to her enemies, respected by her sister kingdom, an 
object of veneration to all Europe; constitutional 
freedom emerging from the dark abyss into which 
she had been plunged by folly and corruption, law- 
less and absurd oppression.' 

Whether Ireland was really at that moment the 
object of veneration which she supposed, it would be 
discourteous to enquire too curiously. That the 
veneration, if it existed, would not have survived a 
trial of the Volunteers in the field, may be asserted 
with more certainty. When the Government accepted 
their offer to defend Cork, three hundred men were 
all that came forward. They had courage in plenty, 
and, no doubt, goodwill; but 4 scarcely a corps had 
any camp equipage,' or could be moved for more than 
two days out of reach of their homes. They were 
totally unprovided with everything necessary to 
soldiers beyond a uniform and a musket. Not one 
of their officers 4 would accept a commission from 
the Crown or subject himself to the Articles of War;' 
and when their strength was at its highest the Duke 



of Portland gave it as his deliberate opinion that, chap. 
unless they were assisted by an English division, < — ^ — - 
4 five thousand regular troops, who could effect a J ' M ' 
landing, would remain masters of whatever port they 
might choose to occupy,' for all the resistance they 
would meet with from the Volunteers. 1 

Nevertheless, if not dangerous to the enemy, they 
were a formidable element of possible internal mis- 
chief, and Lord Carlisle was justified in regarding 
the prospect before him with serious apprehension. 

The opening of the session which was big with the 
fate of Ireland at length arrived. It was the 9th of 
October, ten days before the catastrophe at York 
Town. In default of money, or any substantial act of 
grace which might have served instead of it, Mr. 
Eden had been lavish of promises to be fulfilled 
after good behaviour, when the campaign was over. 
He stood in need, as he well knew, of all the friend- 
ship that he could make. The Irish debt, for one 
thing, was now nearly three millions, the annual 
deficit more than a quarter of a million, and trade 
still refusing to rise, of course through the invidious 
machinations of ever-guilty England. 

The speech was studiously humble, Lord Carlisle 
seeming as if he was awed by the crowd which filled 
every corner of the galleries. His majesty was said to 
be filled with the warmest wishes for Ireland's happi- 
ness, and in consideration for her sufferings would, 
notwithstanding the war, make no extraordinary de- 
mands upon her. Towards the Volunteers the Viceroy 
forced himself into expressions of gratitude and an 

1 ' The Duke of Portland to Thomas Towushend, July 18, 1782.' 
S. P. 0. 



book admiration neither of which it was possible for him 
VL , to feel. 

1781. The address was moved by Mr. O'Xeil, who conpled 
with it the expected proposal for the thanks of the 
House to the A T olunteers. After the Viceroy's ful- 
some language, opposition on this account was 
expected from no one. It appeared, however, that 
among the members present there was one at least 
who would neither speak any untrue word himself, 
nor would listen in silence to the insincerity of others. 
Thirteen months only had passed since in that House 
the resolutions of these same Volunteers had been 
condemned as false, scandalous, and libellous ; since 
the editor of the Hibernian Journal had been rebuked 
for publishing them, and La Touche, the chairman of 
the Volunteer meeting, had been obliged to apologize. 

Mr. Fitzgibbon, member now for the University of 
Dublin, being without the admiration professed by 
others for the singular body who had taken on them- 
selves to dictate to Parliament, moved that, before 
the thanks were voted to the Volunteers, the censures 
should be read which the House had passed on them 
at the close of the last session. 

Had a spectre appeared on the floor, the members 
could not have been more startled. On all sides 
they sprung to their feet to clamour down so incon- 
venient a proposal. Tom Conolly, who had been the 
mover of the censure, deprecated the revival of it. 
The Attorney- General, for the Government, professed 
his high respect 1 for a virtuous armed people.' The 
scandal was hushed up in the enthusiasm while the 
vote was passed, and men tried to forget that it had 
happened. None the less Fitzgibbon, in that daring 
action, had shown friend and foe the metal of which 



he was made. He, for himself, had declared war chap. 
against insolent anarchy and factious imposture, and _ 11 _ 
had struck his first blow. 178L 

Pandora's box was now opened. Bradstreet, the 
Eecorder of Dublin, came first with a Habeas Corpus 
Act, and a motion for a committee to enquire into 
the state of the kingdom. Yelverton followed with a 
notice that he would bring in a bill to take from the 
Council, English and Irish, the powers which they 
exercised under Poynings' Act to alter bills of the 
Irish Parliament. Then Grattan came to fulfil his 
threat of the preceding year, and gave notice that he 
would move to repeal the Mutiny Bill. 

The debates had become interesting to the public. 
The galleries were crammed with eager listeners, 
who occasionally joined in the debates. On the 1st 
of November there was an exchange of courtesies 
between the audience and the members. This was 
on Bradstreet's Habeas Corpus Act. The audience 
were dissatisfied at the tone of the speeches. The 
members shouted c Order ' from the floor, and called 
the strangers in the galleries ruffians. 

Floor and galleries were amusing themselves be- 
fore the chief performers appeared on the stage. 
Another actor besides Fitzgibbon was to play an 
important part there. Mr. Grattan had assumed the 
place which his achievements in the past year seemed 
to have won for him as leader of the Opposition. He 
found, when he began to bring in his measures, that 
another claimant for public favour was disputing 
pre-eminence with him. Ten years before, Mr. Flood 
had been what Grattan then was — the proud anta- 
gonist of English influence, the all-adored declaimer 
on the rights and the oppressions of Ireland. His 



book eloquence and his influence had purchased for him 
- — r — • the ordinary rewards of successful agitation. He had 
ovember. obtained the most lucrative office at the disposition 
of the Castle, with the immensely-coveted seat in 
the Privy Council ; and having achieved the highest 
objects of an Irish politician's ambition, his career as 
a patriot was assumed to be over. His services 
thenceforward, except hi extraordinary cases, had 
been secured to the Crown. 

The agitation with which he had played had unex- 
pectedly changed its character. From being a mere 
avenue to public employment it had become a na- 
tional power, threatening to change the face of the Con- 
stitution; and unable to endure to see the place once 
so brilliantly occupied by himself snatched from him 
by a younger rival, impatient to hear another's name 
shouted by the million voices which had once rung 
with his own, while his mind was still in its maturity, 
and his power unimpaired, Mr. Flood believed that 
he could recover his lost position, and a second time 
become the champion of Irish liberty. In the 
debates of 1780 he had shown signs that he was rest- 
less in his chains. The growth of the movement in 
the interval had determined him to break them. On 
the first occasion which offered, when Grattan brought 
up the Mutiny Bill, he rushed to the front, and in 
the old style poured out a stream of declamation on 
the profligacy of the Castle expenditure, by which he 
had himself condescended to profit. 

The returned prodigal was not very warmly re- 
ceived. George Ponsonby congratulated him on the 
recovery of his voice, after seven years of silence, 
and hinting sarcastically at the probable conse- 
quences, applauded the public spirit which made him 



risk the loss of the best appointment which the Go- chap. 
vernment had to bestow. His friends exclaimed at — U - — - 
the enormity of the supposition that he should lose xonmber 
his office for obeying his conscience. If he shared 
their feelings and believed that the Government 
would not dare to punish him, he calculated too 
much upon the King's cowardice. He had tried the 
patience of the Cabinet already, when he boasted 
that the Vice-Treasurership had been the unsolicited 
gift of his sovereign. His sovereign remembered 
too accurately the history of that transaction ; he 
showed his sense of Mr. Flood's conduct by striking 
his name with his own hand from the list of Privy 
Councillors; and Mr. Flood only escaped deprivation 
of the office, for which he had sued so ardently, by im- 
mediate voluntary resignation. The coolness of his 
reception by the patriots, and the prompt action of 
the Crown, stimulated him to more violent efforts. 

When Grattan's motion on the Mutiny Bill came 
to a division on the 13th of November, it was lost by 
a large majority. Mr. Flood desired to show that an 
experienced general could succeed where his younger 
rival had failed, and revived it under another form. 
The opportunity selected for these attacks on the Bri- 
tish army was ungracious and unfortunate. At the 
moment when the Irish popular leaders were cla- 
mouring for measures which destroyed the discipline 
and threatened the existence of the scanty regiments 
which formed, nevertheless, the sole effective defence 
of Ireland against invasion ; when the cattle houghers, 
encouraged by parliamentary rhetoric, were ham- 
stringing British soldiers who were straying care- 
lessly in the provincial towns, the poor army of which 
they formed a part, in another quarter of the world, 



book was crowning itself with immortal glory. For a year 

- past a never intermitting storm of shot and shell 

r 178 |* had rained into Gibraltar. The houses in the town 

lovem Uer. 

were all destroyed. The inhabitants, gentle and 
simple, were crowded in the casemates. Enormous 
works had been thrown up at the neck of the Penin- 
sula by the most accomplished engineers which the 
allied nations could produce; and from behind those 
works and under a fire before which no living 
thing could show itself and escape destruction, the 
choicest troops of France and Spain were to advance 
and drive the English into the sea. All was ready 
for the attack. Ten thousand tons of powder had 
been distributed anion 2; the magazines. On one of 
those very same November nights when Grattan 
was wreathing his brow with an aureole and Flood 
was fighting for the recovery of his patriotic laurels, 
General Ross stole out 1 in the darkness with two 
thousand men, stormed into the Spanish lines, swept 
the trenches, overthrew the palisades, and laying 
trains into the magazines, sent the results of twelve 
months' toil and the passionate hopes of England's 
enemies, with one wild roar into the air. 

It was not the Irish Volunteers just then which 
Europe was admiring, as Lord Gharlemont supposed, 
but the British defence of the barren rock which 
stands sentinel at the gates of the Mediterranean. 
Mr. Flood's spirited endeavours, at that instant at 
least, were not allowed to succeed. To his extreme 
mortification, he failed more decisively than Grattan 
had failed. The patriot phalanx declined to follow 
his call. He was defeated by 146 to 66. 

1 November 27 



The Attorney-General improved the occasion. He chap. 
observed with delicate irony that Mr. Flood's situa- > — 

I rr o -I 

tion reminded him of a parish clerk whom he had x ' 
known when he was at the Temple, going by the 
name of Harry Plantagenet. 1 Harry had acquired 
his soubriquet as a king of sportsmen. When the 
hounds were at fault, no whip was so skilful as Harry 
in bringing them back to the trail. They followed 
no voice so readily as Harry's. The huntsman, seeing 
his influence over the dogs, took him into employment 
and dressed him in the royal uniform. In this situ- 
ation his zeal languished, he became lazy and self- 
indulgent. Younger men outrode him and took his 
place in the favour both of dogs and field. He became 
jealous ; he quarrelled with his masters. He went 
back to hunt in opposition, but he found now that the 
spell was broken, that not a hound would obey him, 
not a rider would follow him, and he returned to the 
Temple Church to sing psalms and care for his soul. 

The story was told with a dramatic humour which 
sparkled the more brilliantly as the House showed 
itself the more intensely delighted. The arrow hung 
by the barb in Flood's side. In vain he tried to 
shake it from him, and capered like the bull in the 
arena when the chulos plant the banderilla in his 

The Irish gentry, for a time at least, were showing 
a nobler spirit than their chosen champions. 

Yelverton had given notice that on the 5th of 
December he would move for the consideration of 
Poynings' Act. Before the day came the news 
arrived of Lord Cornwallis's surrender. Struck at 

1 Flood's name was Henry. 



BOOK once with the unfitness of pressing a hostile motion 
— • at such a crisis, he proposed in place of it an address 

ovember. to tne Crown of simple and unaffected good feeling. 
He said, ' it would ill become the loyalty of Ireland 
to remain in apathy, when Britain, surrounded with 
enemies, was struggling against a warring world, with 
the admiration of every generous mind.' He was not 
expressing the sentiments either of the mob out of 
doors, or of Grattan, the representative of the mob 
in Parliament. The Irish, generally, could not be 
expected to feel regret at the disasters of their op- 
pressors. Grattan stormed at Yelverton's weakness, 
and declared that Ireland would be mad if she ex- 
erted herself to save England from misfortune. The 
House was of a different opinion. The address of 
sympathy was carried by a very large majority. 1 

The division showed Grattan that the Castle was 
stronger than he had hoped. So far he had made no 
progress in a campaign where he had looked for im- 
mediate victory. He assumed that his defeat was 
owing (as perhaps in part it was) to the usual 
debasing influences. He repeated the language of 
the Volunteers, and openly accused the Viceroy of 
spending the Irish revenue in corrupting the con- 
science of Parliament. 2 Flood, snatching at any in- 
strument which would give him back his place in the 
people's hearts, took up the subject which Yelverton 
had not dropped, but had laid aside out of good feeling 
for a fortnight only. Yelverton's motion was to 

1 1G7 to the first of the nobility. Let him 

2 ' As to the appropriation of the defend the minute corruption which, 
money, I am ashamed to state it. in small bribes and annuities, leaves 
Let the minister defend it. Let honourable gentlemen poor while 
him defend the scandal of giving it makes them dependent.' — Irish 
pensions, directly or indirectly, to Debates, December 7, 1781. 



come on again on the 18tli. Flood dragged it forward chap. 


in an altered shape on the 11th, and moved for a com- i— / - 

mittee to consider the conditions under which heads i' 


of bills were certified with England. His cause was 
good. It has been seen in many instances how mis- 
chievously the Privy Council both in England and 
Ireland abused their powers to defeat good measures 
or forward bad ones. Mr. Flood explained with 
correctness that the modern practice was never con- 
templated when the Act on which it was based be- 
came law. Sir Edward Poynings' Act had been passed 
when the communication between the two countries 
was slow and difficult, and the object of it had been to 
prevent the Viceroys of Ireland from giving the Royal 
assent on their own responsibility to measures of which 
England disapproved. By the ingenuity of James 
the First the Irish Council had been shaped after the 
pattern of the Scotch Lords of Articles ; and following 
that example they had been allowed to remodel, and 
even originate, heads of bills which were the property 
of Parliament. He spoke eloquently, as he always 
did. The House was, in principle, on his side, for 
there was scarcely a single member — not even Fitz- 
gibbon — who did not desire to see the powers of the 
Council modified ; 1 but they resented Flood's taking 
the question out of Yelverton's hands, and he was 
beaten almost as severely as before. 

Flood being pushed aside, not without loud com- 
plaints, Yelverton resumed charge of his own bill, 
the effect of which, if carried, would be to place 

1 Hely Hutchinson was an ex- too little remembered lines : — 

ception. He had no belief in an 'For modes of Government let 

independent regenerated Irish Par- fools contest ; 

liament. He looked for reform in "Whate'er is best administered 

another direction, and quotedPope's is best.' 



BOOK the Irish Parliament in the same position as the 
_ ^ L - English. The Irish Parliament was to frame its 
leclmb'er own measures as pleased itself. The Crown was 
to be left with a veto as the constitutional symbol of 
sovereignty. The 6th of George the First had been 
mentioned repeatedly in the debate. The sentiment 
of the House was distinct that the English Parlia- 
ment had nothing to do with Ireland, and could pass 
no laws affecting it. At a calmer time many ques- 
tions would have suggested themselves on the rela- 
tions in which the two countries would stand towards 
one another, and in which Ireland would stand to- 
wards the Executive Government, if the tie between 
them was reduced to the person of the sovereign. 
What was to happen if on points of public policy or 
general commerce the two Legislatures should be in 
collision ? — if the Crown should withhold its consent 
from a measure desired in Ireland, but disapproved 
in England ? Ireland's ambition was, in fact, to defy 
the laws of gravity ; bring the inferior country to be 
regarded and treated as an equal, and her slightest 
trade being dependent on the protection of the English 
navy, to be allowed to regulate the details of it after 
her own pleasure. Another more vital difficulty 
there was too, such as had already occurred after the 
Revolution, when there was a King de facto on the 
throne, and a Pretender aspiring to it ! Was the 
English Parliament to decide who was to be Ireland's 
sovereign ; and if they differed in opinion, who was to 
judge between them? 

These objections could scarcely have escaped dis- 
cussion had the temper of the time permitted; but 
enthusiasm will not believe in obstacles to the grati- 
fication of its hopes. The heads of Yelverton's bill 



were brought in and passed for transmission; and chap. 
the heads of another bill were passed also, which > . U , ' - 
being practical, was of more real importance. The D ^g~£' ei 
concessions made in the last session to the Catholics 
were then supposed to be final, but the first removal 
of painful restrictions makes those which remain the 
more irksome. The principle has been abandoned, 
the outworks of the fortress have been carried; and, 
as a matter of course, the attack is continued while 
anything is left to be done. Luke Gardiner, who had 
charge of the bill of 1780, now introduced a second. 
As the law stood the Catholics could take leases for 999 
years ; they could not yet acquire freeholds. Gardiner 
said his object was to raise the Catholics of Ireland 
to the same position in which they were now placed 
in England, and allow them to purchase, inherit, and 
hold property on the same terms as other subjects. 
When favours were asked for the Catholics, the Eng- 
lish Government always responded. More than ever 
were the Catholics now valuable to them as a counter- 
poise to the Volunteers. The Cabinet, looking only 
to the present moment, had no doubts of the policy of 
concession. Opinions in Ireland, even in the patriot 
camp, were divided. Grattan, whose dream was of 
a revived nationality, declared that Ireland would 
never prosper till its inhabitants were 1 a people.' 
Charlemont was hostile. Flood, either from con- 
viction or antagonism to Grattan, was prepared to 
resist to the utmost, on Protestant principles. On 
the first discussion on the introduction of the heads, 
Fitzgibbon was the most rational speaker. He ad- 
mitted that the penal laws were an anachronism. 
He believed, as most intelligent men in Europe then 
believed, that Komanism had ceased to be dangerous 



book as a political power. Toleration, he said, had become 

. the rule of the world, and Ireland must not be left 

' " s / behind. The Irish Catholics had earned a restoration 


of their rights by their patience under protracted 
disabilities. He advised only that the degree of 
concession intended should be carefully considered ; 
that what was to be done should be done completely, 
and that the subject should be finally disposed of. 
Leave was then given. The heads were introduced, 
to be debated after the Christmas recess. The 
supplies were voted. Yelverton's bill was sent to 
England for approval. Complimentary addresses were 
exchanged between the Viceroy and the Speaker, and 
the House separated till the 29th of January. The 
first part of the session had belied Lord Carlisle's 
fears. With judicious management, and with the 
help, perhaps, of the Catholic Relief Bill, the re- 
mainder of it he hoped might be got over, if not 
with brilliancy, yet without misfortune. Though 
some constitutional changes might be necessary, they 
might be kept within limits. Grattan's following was 
evidently weak, and Flood carried no one with him 
but a handful of personal admirers. 




On the reassembling of Parliament the first subject chap. 
which came on for consideration in the House of — 
Commons was the Catholic Relief Bill. The dis- t// 82, 


agreement in the popular party and the objections of 
the more serious politicians had become wider and 
deeper by reflection. 

Hely Hutchinson, who always spoke to the purpose, February 
deprecated hasty legislation on a ticklish subject. He 
was opposed on principle to the continuance of 
penalties on conscience, but he thought that the 
reintroduction of the Catholics as a power in the 
State was beginning at the wrong end. He was in 
favour of the recognition and payment of the Catholic 
clergy by the State. He recommended the institution 
of a college for their home education, where they 
would escape the influences to which they were ex- 
posed in France and Spain. 

On the 15th, when the Bill came to be committed, 
Fitzgibbon spoke. He said that till that morning he 
had seen no danger in Mr. Gardiner's proposal, but 
on reading the Bill carefully he had discovered that, 
in the shape in which it was offered to the House, the 
first clause repealed the Act of Settlement and the 
Act of Forfeiture, would thus affect the titles on which 
four-fifths of Irish land was held, and would throw 
the entire country into confusion. 

Of course there was a general panic, which was 
not diminished by the warmth displayed by the 

VOL. II. x 



book Government speakers in lauding the good humour 
V1, _ ■ with which the Catholics had endured their afflictions. 
Februfr- -^ ne Attorney- General said that 'he had seen at 
Monaghan at the same moment three large congre- 
gations flowing simultaneously out of a meeting- 
house, a church, and a mass -house, and the indi- 
viduals which composed them mixing in the street 
with every mark of affection and good will/ 1 

The Attorney-General might have found the ex- 
planation in the laws which he was denouncing. 
When the Catholics were indulged they had attempted 
massacre and confiscation; when they were bitted 
and bridled they were peaceable and good-humoured. 
That this was the correct interpretation may be seen 
in the fruits of religious equality. When a Pro- 
testant prelate of the disestablished Church walks 
through an Irish city the devout Celt displays his 
piety by spitting on him as he passes. 2 A truth which 
has become now so painfully evident was not wholly 
unperceived in 1782. Mr. Flood defended the original 
imposition of the Penal Laws. 4 Ninety years ago/ 
he said, ' the question was whether Popery and arbi- 
trary power should be established in the person of 
King James, or the Protestant religion in the person 
of King William. Four-fifths of Ireland were for 
King James ; they were defeated. I rejoice in their 
defeat. The laws that followed were not laws of 
persecution, they were a political necessity.' 4 Are 
you/ he asked, ' prepared for a new government? 
What will be the consequence if you give Catholics 

1 Irish Debates, February 15, he described the thing not as having 
1~82. happened to him once, hut as since 

2 Fact in one instance certainly. the disestablishment happening re- 
It was told to me by the bishop peatedly. 
who was himself the sufferer, and 



equal powers with Protestants? Can a Protestant chap. 

Constitution survive? The majority will attempt to * U ,' - 

alter the Constitution, and I believe the}' will be re- F J b ^ r * 
pellecl by the minority. AYe will give all toleration 
to your religion ; we will not give you political 
power, and the free ownership of land will bring 
political power in its rear.' 1 

To this argument the obvious answer was that the 
objection was too late. The principle had been con- 
ceded when the power of taking leases for 999 years 
had been granted. For the purpose of influencing 
elections a tenure for thirty generations was equiva- 
lent to a freehold. Nor could the more ardent patriots 
believe in the danger which Flood anticipated. The 
object was to raise the down-trodden Irish Catholic, to 
fit him for his place as the free citizen of an emancipated 
country, and already he was responding to the call. 

4 Ireland,' said Sir Boyle Roche, 1 is like the Phoenix 
rising from its ashes. The debates on these laws have 
electrified the mass of the people. Instead of looking 
down like slaves they throw up their heads like men.' 

Still, on this, and on other measures on which the 
patriotic heart was set, the House was timid, and 
the feeble knees required to be strengthened. Mr. 
Grattan fell back upon his friends in uniform, who in 
politics and in the field considered themselves Ire- 
land's real sovereigns. 

To the Volunteers the disaster at York Town had 
been an Irish victory. Elate and confident, they at 
once in their clubs repeated the resolutions of 1780, 
and declared that Parliament was controlled by a 
majority corrupted by the Castle. Delegates from the 
Ulster corps had been invited to meet at Dungannon, 

1 Irish Debates, February, 1782. 



book at the beginning of February, to consider the con- 
\ L * dition of the country. The appeal which Grattan 
February res °l v ed to make to them had probably been pre- 
concerted when the delegates had arranged to assem- 
ble. Flood r s opposition was troublesome. Like a 
skilful tactician Grattan invited Flood to share the 
honours of a campaign to most of the objects of which 
he was committed as deeply as Grattan himself. Grat- 
tan, Flood, and Lord Charlemont met privately in 
Dublin to draw up resolutions which the Dungannon 
delegates were to adopt. 

The first, framed by Grattan himself, was ' That a 
claim of any body of men, other than the King, Lords, 
and Commons of Ireland, to make laws by which Ire- 
land was to be bound, was illegal, unconstitutional, 
and a grievance.' 1 

The second, which was Flood's, declared, ' That the 
powers exercised by the Privy Council of both king- 
doms under colour of the law of Poynings were un- 
constitutional and a grievance.' 

On these points the triumvirs were agreed. The 
second contained the principle of Yelverton's Bill, 
which had not yet been returned from England. 

Further than this Grattan knew that neither Flood 
nor Charlemont would go with him. He, therefore, 
without consulting them, himself added a third 
resolution : 

4 That we (the Volunteers) hold the right of private 
judgment in matters of religion to be equally sacred 
in others as in ourselves ; that we rejoice in the 
relaxation of the penal laws against our Roman Ca- 
tholic fellow-subjects, and that we conceive these 

1 Aimed at the Glh of George I. 



measures to be fraught with the happiest consequences chap. 
to the union and prosperity of the inhabitants of 

Trplnnrl ' 1 1782 ' 
lieiailQ. February. 

A trusty messenger galloped down with these 
resolutions to Dungannon. Two hundred and forty 
representatives of the Ulster companies were in February 
attendance on the day for which they were called. 
The streets of the town were lined with Volunteer 
troops. The delegates assembled in the church, 
where they sate in consultation till nightfall. At 
eight o'clock the propositions were unanimously 
voted, and went out in Charlemont's name over all 
quarters of Ireland, to be adopted by the brother 
delegates of the corps in the southern provinces. 

Inadvertence in England gave Grattan unexpected 
assistance. The universal soreness in Ireland on the 
subject of laws affecting them being passed in the 
British Parliament was so notorious that the prac- 
tice had been avoided, as far as it conveniently could ; 
and as long as no aggravated case was allowed to 
arise, there was a hope that the Irish Parliament 
might abstain from challenging the right, and bring- 
ing the Legislatures into open collision. Unhappily, 
the name of Ireland had been allowed to appear in 
four trifling measures which had just been passed at 
Westminster. Irish jealousy detected at once a ma- 
lignant purpose, and with these Acts in his hand and 
with the Dungannon resolutions at his back, Grattan ^^J" 7 
rose a week after the Catholic debate to move the 
long-threatened Declaration of the Independence of 
the Legislature of Ireland. He was a loyal subject of 
the King, he said. He professed to prize the connection 

1 * This resolution was crammed bag after he was mounted.' — Life 
by Grattan into the messenger's of Grattan, vol. ii. p. 205. 



book with Great Britain second only to the liberties of 
— — • his country, but he charged Lord North's Government 
February with conspiring against the constitutional freedom of 
Ireland. With ' Demosthenic thunder ' he insisted 
that he would never submit to British legislation, 
and, unlike Yelverton, he insisted that now was the 
moment, now, when Britain's hands were tied by a 
general war, for Ireland to break her intolerable chain. 

How much of Grattan's action was a sincere ema- 
nation of patriotism, how much was due to concerted 
action with the English Whigs, to embarrass and 
overthrow Lord North's tottering Administration, 
was known to Grattan himself, and perhaps to no 
other person. The Whigs believed afterwards that 
he had played with them, and reproached him with 
ingratitude. It is certain, at any rate, that without 
their assistance, even the Volunteers would not have 
enabled him to succeed. 

The Attorney-General opposed the motion as ha- 
zardous, unreasonable, and unnecessary. Against Mr. 
Grattan's rhetoric he opposed the practical fact to 
which Fitzgibbon had alluded before, that the Act of 
Settlement rested on the Act of Forfeiture passed by 
the Long Parliament in the first year of the Irish 
Rebellion. A declaration that the Irish Parliament 
alone could pass laws to bind Ireland, would render 
the Act of Forfeiture invalid, would i loosen the bonds 
of society, and leave the whole island to be grappled 
for by the descendants of the old proprietors.' Illusion 
could not endure the contact of so serious a reality. 
The Provost, Gervase Bushe, even George Ponsonby, 
took the Government side, and Grattan was beaten 
on a division by 137 to 68. 

One impression left by the debate was remarkable. 



Yelverton proposed to meet the legal difficulty by 1 a chap. 

Bill for quieting possessions held under the Forfeiture . — 

Act.' Not a single speaker on either side, not even F *^' 
the Attorney-General, though' challenged repeatedly 
to give his opinion, defended the principle of English 
Acts being of binding force in Ireland. 

1 The majority by which the motion was postponed/ 
Lord Carlisle wrote on the following day, 1 will satisfy 
his majesty's Ministers that Government can prevent 
the question being carried. But the principle, never- 
theless, is universally insisted on. Every rank and 
order of this nation are possessed of it. I ques- 
tion whether any lawyer would advise his client to 
bring his cause to an issue on the validity of a British 
Act in this kingdom, or whether a jury would give a 
verdict on that foundation.' 1 

Yet, again, it was the English conquest which alone 
had given to the existing owners the possession of 
Irish land. It reposed upon English authority. If 
the Catholics, according to the Dungannon resolu- 
tions, were to secure their political as well as their 
civil rights, even the English legislative authority it 
might be dangerous to part with. A Protestant 
House of Commons might pass a c quieting ' Bill as 
Yelverton suggested ; but a House returned by a 
Catholic majority might repeal it. This unpleasant 
possibility was brought into view by a great debate 
immediately after Grattan's defeat on Mr. Gardiner's 
Catholic Belief Bill. Mr. Gardiner, carrying out the 
Dungannon spirit, proposed now to abolish all dis- 
tinctions between Catholic and Protestant. The first 
clause of his Bill, as he had remodelled it, declared 

1 1 The Earl of Carlisle to Lord Hillsborough, February 23, 1762.' 




book every Irish subject who would subscribe a simple 
— — < oath of allegiance and the declaration against the 

1 7K9 .... . 

February jurisdiction of foreign Prince or Potentate, entitled 
to his full rights as a citizen. Fitzgibbon pointed out 
the consequences, and Gardiner accepted his help to 
change the form once more. The single Bill was 
divided into two. The first affected property only. 
The Catholics were enabled to acquire freehold, to 
buy and sell, bequeath and inherit, like every one 
else. To this there was no opposition. Mr. Eden 
walked out of the House before the division to indi- 
cate the impartiality of the Government, and the 
Bill was carried. 

The second affirmed and carried out the principle 
of complete religious toleration, repealed the laws 
which bore upon the priests, and restored to Catholic 
parents their rights to educate their children whether 
at home or abroad. This Bill was postponed, not 
out of any hostile feeling, but from difference of 
opinion on the still unsettled question of mixed or 
separate education. On the right of Catholics to 
have their own schools no question was raised. On 
whether the Act should be repealed which forbade 
them to send their children to be educated abroad, 
there arose a debate, remarkable as proving how far 
the harshness of the penal laws had been softened in 
practical application. 

Fitzgibbon declared that so far from consenting to 
the repeal of the foreign Education Act, he would 
himself move for the introduction of such a law if it 
did not already exist. c He would not suffer the 
Catholics to resort to regions of bigotry and super- 
stition, where they would imbibe ideas hostile to 
liberty, neither did he mean that they should receive 


no education.' 4 The University of Dublin was already 
open to Catholics by connivance.'' 1 If they declined to 
receive an education there, it was not on account of 
religion, for no religions conformity teas required, but 
only because Catholics feared their children would 
imbibe the principles there of a free constitution.' 

Fitzgibbon spoke as Member for the University. The 
Provost (Hely Hutchinson) rose after him. Let those 
who can feel the ignominy of England's ill-success in 
Ireland read in his language one more record of op- 
portunity thrown away. 4 My opinion,' the Provost 
said, 4 is against sending Catholics abroad for educa- 
tion, nor would I establish Popish colleges at home. 
Our gracious Sovereign, who is legislator for the 
University, may, I think, with ease be prevailed on 
to pass a statute for admitting Catholics. They need 
not be obliged to attend the Divinity Professors. They 
may hare one of their own. I would have part of the 
public money applied to their use, to the support of 
poor lads as sizars, and to provide premiums for per- 
sons of merit. I would have them go into examina- 
tions, and make no distinctions between them and the 
Protestants but such as merit might claim. If these 
people dare to worship God in their own way, why 
should not the academic baclo-e thev wear be a mark 

O J 

of spirit and a pledge of the union between them and 
the Protestants? To prepare the Catholics for the 
University I would increase the number of diocesan 
schools, and have the Catholics instructed gratis in 
them. They should receive the best education in the 
Established University at the public expense, but by 
no means should Popish colleges be allowed, for by 
them we should again have the Press groaning with 
theories of controversy, college against college, and 



subjects of religious disputation that have long slept 
would again awake, and awake with the worst passions 
of the mind.' 1 

There is a tide in the affairs of men 
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune ; 
Omitted, all the voyage of their life 
Is bound in shallows and in miseries. 

The history of Ireland is a history of chances lost. 
Even now, at the eleventh hour, could England have 
laid hold with heartiness of a policy of which the 
Provost was shadowing out a part, Catholics and 
Protestants might still have been drawn together and 
towards the mother country; and disabilities would 
have then died of themselves because they no longer 
rested on disunion of sentiment. Even a united 
Irish nationality might have been safely allowed to 
revive, no more hostile to England than the nation- 
alities of Wales or Scotland, but rising out of and 
resting upon an innocent and honourable pride. 

It was not to be. No spirit of wisdom was presiding 
over the Councils of Great Britain, whether among 
Whigs or Tories. It was with no desire to reconcile 
Irish Catholics to Protestantism and to the empire, 
that the Irish enthusiasts for reform were agitating 
to replace the Catholics in the Constitution, but to 
conjure into life the deluding phantom of Irish inde- 
pendence, to separate and not to reconcile, to snatch 
the moment of England's weakness to extract free- 
dom for Ireland, which, being without strength to 
preserve, she must see pass from her like a shadow 
of a dream. 

Men like Fitzgibbon and the Provost might con- 
tend within their own circle against the general 

1 Irish Debates, March, 1782. 






madness, but every day the Viceroy found the atmo- chap. 

sphere more heavily charged with electricity. He - — ^ — 

. . 178*^ 

had done his utmost, and his large majorities showed March! 

the strength of his influence in Parliament; but out- 
side the walls the patriots were using language which 
might at any moment change into open violence. 

In a most secret letter of the 3rd of March Lord 
Carlisle explained the position to Lord Hillsborough. 

{ Mr. Grattan, from a natural enthusiasm, and Mr. 
Flood, from a different motive, have concurred with 
great earnestness in bringing forward every question 
tending to assert an independent right of legislation 
in Ireland. I have in no case suffered the smallest 
diminution of the asserted rights of Great Britain. 
I have called forth the whole strength of Government 
to repel every such attempt, and have resisted some of 
the strongest questions which were ever pressed in an 
Irish Parliament. The consequence of this steadiness 
has been great and uniform success. But I must now 
draw your Lordship's attention beyond the considera- 
tion of parliamentary triumphs, which, if made the 
sole object of attention, may produce calamitous 
consequences. The restless and reasoning disposition 
of the Volunteers, which do not fall short of 30,000 
men actually in arms, 1 the jealousy with which the 
interference of British laws has long been considered, 
the approaching meeting of the corps at the opening 
of the spring, the instigation of the men who from 
different motives are opposing the Government, the 
resentment excited by the uniform success of my 
Government, are all circum stances which induce me 

1 Grattan spoke of them as 100,000. 


to look forward with uneasiness. Your Lordship can- 
not be ignorant that the actual exercise of the autho- 
rity of the British Parliament over Ireland was 
totally impracticable long before I arrived in the 
kingdom. There was not a magistrate or revenue 
officer, however dependent, who would venture to 
enforce an English law. There was not a jury in 
the kingdom who would find a verdict under an 
English Act. I may infer that I can close the ses- 
sion without suffering a vote to be carried contrary 
to my wishes ; but the support, and possibly the 
existence of a permanent good Government in this 
kingdom, depends on maintaining the many respec- 
table friends of my administration in the fair opinion 
of their countrymen. Their weight is not only es- 
sential to my support in Parliament, but perhaps 
more materially among the Volunteer associations, 
from which they might be excluded if I should be 
compelled to close the session without quieting the 
ferment.' 1 

Lord Carlisle's majorities were not entirely due to 
Mr. Eden's drafts on Mr. Robinson. Irish members 
would engage their services, and yet might be found 
wanting, as had been many times experienced at 
critical moments. But they had discovered that if 
they rushed along too fast on the patriotic career, 
they might blunder into positions where their estates 
would be in danger. They had gone into raptures 
over the Volunteers, but the sense that the country 
was in the hands of armed politicians who were not 
under military law was, on reflection, not particularly 

1 1 The Earl of Carlisle to Lord Hillsborough, March 3, 1782. Most 
secret.' S. F. 0. 



pleasant. ' It was the unanimous sentiment of chap. 
every able man in the kingdom,' Lord Carlisle said, J }' _ 
'that the question of legislation was tending to some ^roh 
serious issue.' The Viceroy's earnest desire was to 
find a way out of the difficulty which moderate people 
would accept. It was not a question of mere national 
pride. Irish commerce was carried on under the 
British flag and protected by the British navy. Irish 
commercial interests abroad were under charge of 
British consuls. Laws must be passed from time to 
time in the British Parliament by which Ireland 
would be constructively affected. Yelverton, with 
Lord Carlisle's full approval, advised that every Eng- 
lish Act comprehending Ireland should be re-enacted 
in the Irish Parliament. Fitzgibbon and Hussey 
Burgh both agreed that this was the most rational 
solution. G rattan was not at first violently hostile. 
Flood only refused to listen to a compromise, and 
would hear of nothing but unconditional surrender 
of the English right. He saw an opportunity of 
recovering his supremacy as the incorruptible assertor 
of Irish liberties, and in such a mood it was as useless 
to reason with him as with the orators of the Volun- 
teers and the multitude who repeated their common- 
places in every corner of the island. 

The situation was thus becoming really dangerous. 
Lord Carlisle sent the Cabinet for inspection a copy 
of papers about to be submitted for signature to the 
grand juries at the approaching assizes. The country 
gentlemen were invited to accept the Dungannon re- 
solutions ; to pledge themselves to the Irish nation 
and to one another to oppose the execution of any 
statute deriving its authority from England ; to sup- 



book port Ireland's rights with life and fortune, and to 
. promise annually to renew their obligations till those 

llkrch rights had been definitely conceded. 1 

Yelverton's measure for the alteration of Poynings' 
Act was still waiting in England, Lord North's 
Cabinet, already at its last gasp, not knowing what 
to decide about it. Being one at least of the mea- 
sures on which Ireland's patriotic heart was set, Lord 
Carlisle thought that if it was returned immediately, 
he could procure a compromise on the question of 
legislative authority, and induce the grand juries to 
withhold their signatures. If Yelverton's bill was 
not returned, he declared himself ready to be guided 
by his majesty's commands and by the wisdom of his 
councils ; but so far as his own judgment went, he 
declined to answer for the consequences. The friends 
of Government in both Houses were becoming fright- 
ened. If the suspense was protracted, they might be 
' overawed by popular violence, and pass votes dis- 
claiming British legislation.' Mr. Grattan had more 
than once spoken of possible hostile resolutions of 
the Irish Houses, 4 as parliamentary ordinances to be 
maintained by the armed associations.' In dread of 
matters being forced into so dangerous an issue, the 
Viceroy said 'he had welcomed the help of Yelver- 
ton, Burgh, and Fitzgibbon.' 2 

A ministerial crisis being now rapidly approach- 
ing in England, the Irish Parliament adjourned for a 
month on the 14th of March. Before the separation, 
Grattan moved and carried a call of the House of 
Commons for the 18th of April. On that day all 
members were invited to be in their places as they 

1 1 The Earl of Carlisle to Lord 2 1 The Earl of Carlisle to Lord 
Hillsborough March 7. Most secret.' Hillsborough, March 1G.' S. P. 0. 


tendered the rights of Ireland. These trying ques- chap. 
tions would then be revived, perhaps, under more — r — - 
favourable auspices. Lord Carlisle could not but iarch*. 
confess that he had been in some degree infected by 
Irish sentiment in the Judgment which he formed 
upon them. He had found, in common with every 
Viceroy who preceded him, that when he spoke to 
the Cabinet of wrongs done to Ireland, and recom- 
mended a measure or measures as tending to remedy 
them, he had been received either with insolent 
neglect or contemptuous refusal. English rule in 
Ireland had become so shameful a parody of all that 
is meant by righteous and legitimate authority, that 
nature herself repudiated it. Ireland could not and 
would not be governed any longer by English laws. 
Lord Carlisle thought, and avowed that he thought, 
that she might be governed well and happily by laws 
of her own ; while, if England refused to consent to an 
arrangement, he anticipated inevitable convulsions, 
the end of which no one could foresee. 1 

Before the letter in which Lord Carlisle expressed 
these sentiments reached England, Lord Xorth's 
administration was at an end. Lord Rockingham had 
been sent for by the king, and the Opposition, who 
had condemned the entire policy of the Government 
abroad and at home, in America and in Ireland, was 
about to pass to the direction of the empire. 

1 * The Earl of Carlisle to Lord Hillsborough, March 19, 1782.' 




book The surrender of Lord Cornwailis was the concluding 
— A — ' scene of the efforts of England to recover her re- 
March, volted colonies. The steady opposition of the Whigs 
had been ineffectual so long as apparent but useless 
victories attended the English campaigns. A second 
capture of a complete army gave force to arguments 
to which the national pride had refused to listen. 
Motions made in the British Parliament to discon- 
tinue the war in December and January were resisted 
by reduced majorities. On the 22nd of February 
the majority was reduced to one. On the 27th the 
Opposition carried an address to the king, who ac- 
quiesced in what was now unavoidable. Lord North 
resigned, and Rockingham, Fox, and Shelburne were 
called into office to wind up the quarrel. The battle 
had been fought along the entire line of ministerial 
policy. Both Fox and Rockingham had supported 
Grattan on the alteration of the Mutiny Bill, and 
Lord Carlisle's change of opinion did not save him 
from being involved in the fate of his friends. Ire- 
land was no longer to be thwarted in developing her 
Constitution according to her own fancies, and the 
disgrace of Lord North's representative was made 
a peace-offering to the indignation of the patriots. 
Lord Carlisle was treated with singular discourtesy. 
The resignation of the Ministry was no sooner known 
in Dublin than Eden hastened over to place Lord 
Rockingham in possession of the exact situation of 
the country. Eden found, on arriving in London, 



that he had crossed a curt despatch, informing' Lord chap. 

Carlisle that the king had no longer occasion for his - 

services as Lord-Lieutenant of Yorkshire. Jt was a 
peculiarly offensive method of informing him that he 
must resign the Viceroyalty. The Cabinet had 
already chosen a successor for him in the Duke of 

They would have acted less imprudently if they 
had waited for the information which Eden would 
have given them, for, as the event proved, they were 
entirely ignorant of the spirit which they were about 
to encounter. They had assumed that as soon as 
his friends were in power Grattan would at once 
work in harmony with them. Though they hated 
Tories and Tory principles, they had inherited the 
traditions of English statesmen. They were trained 
politicians, unable to believe that the rash project 
of an Ireland really independent could be seriously 
entertained by a reasonable man ; still less, if a few 
enthusiasts had formed so wild a dream, were they 
prepared to countenance it. They supposed that they 
had only to supersede Lord Xorth's Viceroy by a 
nobleman of their own school to find the stormy 
waters settle into repose. 

Lord Rockingham's eyes might have been opened 
had he read Lord Carlisle's last despatch. Had that 
nobleman been continued in office the Yelverton 
compromise might have been accepted. But Eden 
found that his chief had been treated in a fashion 
1 which amounted to personal insult.' When he told 
Lord Shelburne that the hasty appointment of the 
Duke of Portland would work mischief, Shelburne 
answered briefly that he did not agree with him ; and 
Eden, naturally indignant, 'refused to hold further 

VOL. II. y 



book intercourse with the Ministry ' on the Irish subject. 1 
_ V He rose instead, the day after this conversation, in his 
I 78 .?' place in the House of Commons. He declared Ire- 

Aprii. I 

land to be on the edge of civil war ; and to shield 
Lord Carlisle from the undeserved imputation of 
having caused so dangerous an excitement by resist- 
ance to the wishes of the people, he moved him- 
self, on his own responsibility, the repeal of the 
6th of George the First. 2 It was a rash act on his 
part, rising out of violent resentment. The House 
showed such serious displeasure, that he withdrew the 
motion almost as soon as it had been made. Colonel 
Luttrell (Lord Carhampton afterwards) enquired 
whether the repeal of that Act would satisfy Ireland. 
Eden could not say that it would, but declared that 
peace could not be preserved without it. Fox rose 
very angry. 1 He,' he said, 4 was now responsible for 
the honour of his country, and would not consent to see 
England humbled at the feet of Ireland.' 4 The situa- 
tion was worse than he had feared, and the persons to 
blame for it were Eden himself and Lord Carlisle.' 
The blame lay rather with Fox himself and his Whig 
friends, who had encouraged Grattan for their own 
purposes. They had sown the seed, and they were 
to gather the harvest. Portland had sent Charles 
Sheridan over to learn Grattan's views. Sheridan 
wrote that Grattan told him that the Declaration of 
Independence would infallibly be passed after the 
recess. The Volunteers had pledged life and fortune 
to carry it, and nothing less would now satisfy the 

1 1 Mr. Eden to Lord Shelburne, be once more reminded, which 
April 5, 1782.' — Life of Grattan, declared, totidem verbis, the right of 
vol. ii. the English Parliament to legislate 

2 The EDglish Act, let the reader for Ireland. 



people. At the time of the adjournment they might chap. 

have allowed the question of right to sleep, if they 5 - 

could have been assured that the power would not be 
exercised. But public sentiment had changed ; no- 
thing short of the repeal of the offensive Act would 
now preserve the union between the two countries. 

It was true, then, that Independence was really 
contemplated. The connection was to be reduced to 
the tie of a common sovereign. Ireland was to be 
as Hanover, or the alternative was to be total separa- 
tion. If total separation was not rather to follow as 
the consequence of such a wild arrangement, a thou- 
sand delicate problems would have to be considered 
and provided for. The Cabinet was still incredulous 
that Grattan could mean to precipitate a resolution 
of such pregnant quality as if it were on a question 
of common politics. Lord Charlemont at any rate 
must retain his senses, and Fox wrote to him to beg 
at least for a short delay. A Viceroy was going 
over whose sentiments were identical with Lord 
Charlemont's. Why should there be differences be- 
tween them ? The interests of Ireland and England 
could not be divided. Nothing more could be needed 
than the establishment of Whig principles in every 
part of the empire. 1 Rockingham wrote in the same 
tone. He was unable to believe, he said, that an 
adjournment of the House of Commons for a fort- 
night or three weeks would not be consented to. 
Portland must have time to consult the leading 
members of the Patriot party. ' He could not think it 
good policy in the House of Commons of Ireland to 

1 < C. J. Fox to Lord Charlemont, April V—Life of Grattan, vol. ii. 

y 2 



book carry a measure of so onerous a character with 
_ VL ^ precipitancy.' 1 

1782. English Whig statesmen never have understood 

April. . 

Ireland, and perhaps never will understand it. In the 
Irish people there is one serious aspiration nursed in 
their heart of hearts and never parted with, and that 
is separation from England. Whatever the pretext for 
immediate agitation, this is what they mean, and every 
concession is valued only as a step towards the one 
great end. Nothing else will satisfy them, for nothing 
else meets their wishes. But as their object is one 
which reason declares to be unattainable, so they never 
pursue it by reasonable means. They wish passion- 
ately; they are unable to propose deliberately; their 
politics are the blind movements of impulsive enthu- 
siasm, and English Liberals treat them as if they were 
serious, and play with them, and lead them to form 
hopes, which as soon as those hopes take their na- 
tural shape they are obliged to disappoint. 

Had Grattan's theory of an Irish constitution been 
formed deliberately he would have avoided the ap- 
pearance of haste. The more gravely the step which 
he desired was taken, the more surely it would have 
been irrevocable. But he knew too well the materials 
of which his followers were composed. He knew 
that if once the Duke of Portland was allowed to talk 
in private with them, the patriot phalanx would dis- 
solve into air. Men like Charlemont, and Hussey 
Burgh, and Y el vert on had not parted with their 
senses, and if a responsible statesman laid before them 
the difficulties which they would have to encounter 
before they had committed themselves, they would 

1 ' The Marquis of Rockingham to Lord Charlemont, April 9.' — 



recoil from their own schemes. Grattan, therefore, chap. 
refused to allow a single hour for consideration. > — r — 
Portland hastened over to be in time for the call of ^j 2, 
the House on the 16th of April. He carried with him 
discretionary powers unusually large. 1 He still hoped 
that he might find Grattan less unmanageable than 
Sheridan reported. If he was disappointed, if mat- 
ters came to the worst, and if conditions were insisted 
on to which England could not submit with dignity, 
he was permitted, as a last alternative, to throw up 
the Government, and to leave the Irish Protestant and 
Catholic face to face with an independence even more 
complete than they had desired. 

On landing, he again tried to obtain a few days' ad- 
journment. ' Heat and passion,' he was obliged to re- 
port, 1 had taken stronger hold than persons in England 
could be aware of ; and it was the unanimous opinion 
of every gentleman with whom he conversed that the 
attempt would be ineffectual.' He did not see Grattan, 
but continued to communicate with him through 
Charles Sheridan. The patriot demands had taken 
fuller shape in the recess. Ireland now required, 
1, an independent Legislature ; 2, a modification of 
Poynings' Act to abolish the power of the English and 
Irish Council in altering Bills ; 3, a Biennial Mutiny 
Bill ; and one more point now first introduced, a sur- 
render of the right of appeal to England from the 
Irish Courts of Law. Grattan enquired whether on 
these points the Duke had come prepared to satisfy 
Ireland's expectations. The Duke had brought a 
formal message to the Irish Parliament that he was 

1 1 Among others, a "warrant to of Portland to the Earl of Shel- 
the Postmaster-General to detain burne, April 15, 1782.' S. P. 0. 
and open suspicious letters. — D 



book sent to consider their wishes ; it would be answered 


— by an address 1 ; and if the Duke would allow him to 
1782 • 

April * mention these four subjects, and inform the House 
that they would be conceded, Grattan declared him- 
self ready to move the address in the place of the 
Declaration of Eights. The Duke required a copy of 
what Grattan intended to say. 4 On perusal of it, 7 he 
said, 'I found the points contended for marked with 
such harshness and insisted on with such resolute 
pertinacity that I did not hesitate to return the 
paper.' 1 

The Speaker and the Provost appeared to unite in 
condemning Grattan's language, and undertook them- 
selves to draw an address not liable to objection, 
which might equally prevent ' the Declaration of 
Eights. ' This, too, when it was produced, the Duke 
found himself unable to sanction, for it demanded the 
repeal of the 6th of George I. 

4 In this dilemma,' he wrote, 4 I found myself within 
half an hour of the meeting of Parliament with only a 
choice of difficulties. I was certain that no effectual, 
and doubtful if any, resistance could be made to the 
Declaration which Mr. Grattan was to move. I was 
ill-informed of the strength of the Administration. I 
tad to apprehend the effects of disappointment 
upon the minds of those who supported Lord Carlisle 
on condition of being recompensed at the end of the 
session.' 2 

Thus circumstanced, Portland himself sketched a 
neutral address, which he gave to Ponsonby and 
Conolly to be used at their discretion. He told the 

1 < Duke of Portland to Lord Shelburne, April 16. Most secret.' 
S. P. 0. 2 Ibid. 



Council plainly that the Cabinet would consent to no chap. 

• . II 

specific measures till better informed of the wishes of < r — 

the people. He found to his additional mortification ^ ri ]" 

that Lord Carlisle's recall was most unpopular, that 

the House meditated a vote of thanks to him and 

to Eden, with a recommendation of the latter to the 

Kins; for some mark of distinguished favour. 




book Now at length the fateful hour had come when the 

vi # . 

— r^—> sun of Ireland's glory was to break in meridian 

April' splendour through the clouds which had so long 
overshadowed her. For a month every Irish heart 
had beat high with hope. On the 16th of April 
Mr. Grattan was to move a Declaration of Rights, 
which recalled America's Declaration of Independence ; 
and the House of Commons, schooled by the Volun- 
teers, and itself in a brief dream of patriotic intoxi- 
cation, was by its vote to tell England and the world 
that Ireland's thraldom was ended. A grand review 
on the 17th was to celebrate the national triumph. 
The Volunteers had poured into Dublin from every 
part of Leinster. They were marching in uniform 
along the streets and quays, with the harp banners 
flying, and bands playing the national airs. Cavalry 
were prancing in a splendour which told for many a 
year on the estates of the noble lords who were their 
colonels and patrons. Artillery, served out of the Go- 
vernment stores, with the Woolwich stamp on them, 
were booming at intervals defiance of the foreign 
• enemy, Great Britain being the foreigner. The 
nation was showing herself gloriously in arms for the 
occasion when her chosen hero was to announce her 
regeneration to an admiring world. 

Amidst these scenes Portland drove from the 
Castle to the Parliament House. 

The message was read by Hely Hutchinson. The 
King, it briefly said, being concerned to find that 



there was discontent among his loyal subjects of Ire- chap. 

land, recommended the Lords and Commons to take r- — 

it into immediate consideration. Ponsonby followed ApriL 
with Portland's address, which was a mere echo of 
the message. 

Then Grattan rose. He had been ill. He looked 
worn and anxious, but in his opening sentence he 
assumed that his cause was won. 

* I am now.' he said. 4 to address a free people. 
Ages have passed away, and this is the first moment 
in which you could be distinguished by that appella- 
tion. I have spoken on the subject of your liberty so 
often that I have nothing to add. and have only to ad- 
mire by what heaven-directed steps you have pro- 
ceeded until the whole faculty of the nation is braced 
up to the act of her own deliverance. I found Ire- 
land on her knees. I watched over her with an 
eternal solicitude. I have traced her progress from 
injuries to arms, and from arms to liberty. Spirit of 
Swift, spirit of Molyneux, your genius has prevailed. 
Ireland is now a nation. In that new character I hail 
her, and bowing to her august presence I say. Esto 

Into what wild tumult of applause floors and gal- 
leries burst at hearing these words it is needless to 
tell. Neither is it needed to follow further the stream 
of eloquence which has passed into the standard 
manuals of oratory among the schoolbooks of two 
hemispheres. The brilliance of oratory is at all times 
and from the very nature of the art in the inverse 
ratio of the truth contained in it ; and as there never 
was a more shining speech delivered in the English 
language, so never was there speech with less sub- 
stance in it which would bear the test of time. 




book Nations are not born on the floors of debating 
_ V T L societies, nor on the parade-ground of volunteers. 
1782. ]? ree dom must be won on the battle-field or it is 
perishable as the breath that boasts of it. 

In truth and fact, Ireland, bound to England by- 
situation, and inhabited by a people who would howl 
for liberty but never fight for it, had snatched from 
the embarrassments of her neighbour what she could 
neither keep nor use worthily while it was hers ; 
and this glorious outburst of Grattan's is the sharpest 
satire on the race whom he was flattering with his 
vain bombast. 

But the passing moment was his own. The Ame- 
rican wound was unhealed. There had been enough 
of bloodshed, enough of coercion, coercion especially 
of Ireland, which in her depression had been so scan- 
dalously mishandled. England by injustice had 
trained the Irish into anarchy. Whether they would 
make better laws for themselves, and obey them, 
was an experiment at least worth the trying. 1 

The rhetorical part of the performance being over, 
Mr. Grattan moved an amendment to the address to 
assure the King of the loyalty of the Irish, but to tell 
him at the same time that ' Ireland was a distinct king- 
dom with a separate Parliament, and that this Parlia- 

1 1 Whether Ireland was prepared deceived by idle bravado. " I can 
to resist by force if Grattan's pro- assert with perfect confidence," 
positions had been rejected is a Clare said, in his speech on the 
point on which there were diffe- Union, " that no gentleman of Ire- 
rences of opinion. Grattan himself land would at that day have drawn 
said, Yes. His friend, Mr. Day, his sword against Great Britain, 
says for him, Mr. Grattan was re- and it certainly was the duty of the 
solved to assist, even by arms, if King's servants, in whom his re- 
driven to it, the liberties of Ire- presentative reposed a confidence, 
land.' — Life of Grattan, vol. ii. p. to have explained this to the 
272. 1 Lord Clare says, No, and im- Duke." ' 
plies that the Duke of Portland was 



ment alone had a right to pass laws for her.' c In the chap. 
maintenance of that right the liberties of Irishmen < — ^~ 
consisted, and they would only yield it with their ^fii." 
lives.' The points were then rehearsed which England 
was required to concede, and the demonstration over, 
the House then consented to be adjourned while 
reference was made to the Cabinet. 

Irish vanity had been gratified, and Portland thought 
it possible that after the display some cooler thought 
might follow. He held private conferences with 
hopeful members. He talked of negotiation. If Ire- 
land were to receive such large concessions she must 
give something in return, and he hinted at a land-tax. 
Language of this kind was premature. For the mo- 
ment the whole nation was delirious. Grattan 
desired a friend in London to tell Lord Shelburne 
that negotiation was impossible. Ireland demanded 
her rights, and did not mean to pay for them. 
The alternative he scarcely condescended to veil. ' If 
our requests are refused,' he said, 4 we retire within 
ourselves, preserving our allegiance, but not executing 
English laws or English judgments. We consume 
our own manufactures and keep on terms of amity 
with England, but with that diffidence which must 
exist if she is so infatuated as to take away our 
liberty.' 1 

To show the Duke the uselessness of intrigue, one 
of the earliest acts of the House of Commons on its re- 
assembling was to pass the vote of thanks to Lord Car- 
lisle, which he had deprecated as an insult to himself. 
' It is no longer,' Portland wrote to Shelburne on the 
26th of April, 2 1 the Parliament of Ireland that is to be 

1 1 H. Grattan to Mr. Day, April 2 S. P. 0. ' Most secret and con- 
22, 1782.' — Life of Grattan, vol. ii. Sciential.' 



book managed or attended to, it is the whole of this country. 
— — ' It is the Church, the law, the army (I fear when I con- 
Aprif' sider how it is composed), the merchant, the trades- 
man, the manufacturer, the farmer, the labourer, the 
Catholic, the Dissenter, the Protestant. All sects, all 
sorts and descriptions of men, unanimously call on 
Great Britain for a full and unequivocal satisfaction. 
They know and feel their strength. They know it is 
not in your power to send over such a force as will 
compel them to relinquish their claims ; and having 
so recent an example of the fatal consequences of 
coercive measures they are in no fear that Great Bri- 
tain will attempt a second experiment, For myself, 
during the preservation of the remains of the British 
Empire, my opinion is that you should concede to this 
country the fall enjoyment of a free and independent 
Legislature, but that a line should be drawn to pre- 
vent their interference in matters of state and external 
commerce. Modify Poynings' Act for them. The 
abuse of it by the Privy Council of this kingdom has 
been singularly offensive. As to the judicature, I 
know not what to advise. As I undertook this ardu- 
ous employment with hopes which I had soon the 
mortification to be obliged to relinquish, but with 
views of which I shall never lose sight, I think it my 
duty to state shortly what I conceive will be the con- 
sequences of rejecting or delaying to satisfy the 
wishes of this country. For that a few words will 
suffice. In either case there would be an end of all 

The Duke of Portland, in his inexperience of 
Ireland, believed all that was said to him. Shelburne 
understood his countrymen better, and was more 



4 In all such contentions,' he replied, 'men asked CHAP, 
for more at the beginning than they expected to v_ — ^ 
get. It was possible the Irish Parliament would 
recede in some degree from its extreme demands.' 
If this was not so, and ' if the ties which had hitherto 
subsisted between the two countries were to be 
loosened or cut asunder,' he enquired, 4 what plan had 
been thought of to preserve the remaining connection ; ' 
1 how confusion was to be prevented from the separate 
action of Parliament, with distinct and equal powers 
without any operating centre ?' 1 

England was not required to answer by return 
of mail to questions affecting the integrity of the 
empire. Time was allowed her to consider, and 
Portland meanwhile was continuing to feel his way 
under the surface, and beginning to hnd men ready 
to listen to him. He mentioned three or four persons 
who had been removed from the Privy Council for 
opposing the Government. He had ascertained, he 
said, that they could be depended on for the future, 
and he wished to replace these. It is instructive to 
find that Mr. Flood was one of them. Stung by his 
want of success among his old friends, Flood had 
given signs that he was once more marketable. The 
Viceroy admitted, however, that he was less certain 
of him than of the others 1 I must ask a discre- 
tionary power,' he wrote, ' in carrying into effect the 
commands I solicit respecting Mr. Flood. I would 
not restore him unless I was persuaded he would feel 
a just sense of the King's goodness to him.' These 
gentlemen were not all. The Lords and Commons 
recovering their presence of mind began to bid for 

1 < Lord Shelburne to the Duke of Portland, April 29. Secret.' 
S. P. 0. 



book favour again with something like the old eagerness. 
_ VL . Ireland was not yet independent, and while they 
V? 82 * had still something to give which England wanted 

May. ° ° o 

they made the most of the opportunity. So pressing 
were they and so barefaced that, glad as he was to 
gain support, he could not quite restrain a solemn 

- 4 If his majesty's magnanimity and liberality,' he 
said, 1 should influence the Parliament of Great 
Britain to concede with grace the material point, I 
believe that the royal favour might be dispensed in 
this kingdom with a more sparing and economical 
hand, and that the honour of serving the Crown would 
take precedence of the emoluments to which I fear 
the attention of the King's servants in this kingdom 
has been of late too much directed.' 1 

Not yet did Portland understand Ireland. He 
was to discover that so far from a loftier spirit being 
generated by an emancipated constitution, the shrewd 
Irish politicians most valued the rights on which they 
were insisting, as a lever by which to extort a larger 
price for their services. 

May came and England was still pausing on her 
reply. On the 4th, the Irish Parliament again ad- 
journed for three weeks, and the Duke, presuming on 
Grattan's patience, tried to persuade him to be content 
with some 6 middle term,' and, perhaps, refer matters 
to a commission. Assuming that Portland was acting 
under directions from the Cabinet, and possibly afraid 
that he might be too successful, Grattan wrote directly 
to Fox to beg him not to delude himself. Every point 
must be yielded. He and his friends had pledged 

ll To Lord Shelburne, private and confidential, April 21, 1782/ 
S. P. 0. 


their lives and fortunes, and could not and would not 
give way. ' My country,' he said haughtily, ' must 
have been much misunderstood if it is thought she 
has asked for a thing which she cannot give her- 
self. I agree with you in wishing for a settlement, 
but nothing less than what has been stated will satisfy 
Ireland. There must be no foreign legislation, no 
foreign judicature, no legislative council, no negotia- 
tion, no commissioners.' 1 To the Viceroy, too, Grattan 
made it equally plain that 1 middle terms ' need not 
be thought of. 

4 There is still an appearance of Government,' the 
Duke reported to Fox, on the 28th of April, ' but if 
you delay or refuse to be liberal, Government can- 
not exist here in its present form, and the sooner you 
recall vour lieutenant and renounce all claim to this 
country the better.' 2 Still more emphatically, and 
showing how clearly the alternative was before his 
own mind, and had been considered in the Cabinet 
before he left England, he wrote on the 6th of May 
to Lord Shelburne : — 

c Every clay's experience convinces me not only of 
the impossibility of prevailing on this country to re- 
cede from any one of the claims set forth in the 
addresses, but of the danger of new ones being 
started. The hope I expressed of reserving the final 
judicature, if not totally, at least by retaining a writ of 
error, no longer exists.' £ It is in vain to argue on 
the disadvantages which I conceive the alteration of 
the Act of Henry VII. 3 will produce in this country. 
The wishes of the people are fixed ; and reasoning 

1 1 Grattan to Fox, May 6, 1782.' April 28, 1782.'— Life of Grattan, 
— Life of Grattan, vol. ii. vol. ii. 

2 < The Duke of Portland to Fox, 3 Poynings' Act. 


among ourselves as to what is for or against their 
interests, is as much too late as it has been fruitless 
and delusive in respect to other countries. I consider 
the question is carried. I shall proceed, therefore, 
to state the plan which I hope might lay the foundation 
for new relations and permanent friendship. I re- 
commend the positive assurance to be given them of 
the alteration of the Mutiny Bill, the modification of 
Poynings' Act, the repeal of the 6th of George I., 
writs of error to be no longer issued at our Court of 
King's Bench. England in return must insist on " a 
settlement of the precise limits of independence which 
is required," the consideration which should be given 
for the protection expended, and the share which Ire- 
land must contribute to the support of the empire. 
The regulation of trade would very properly make a 
part of a treaty, and the dissatisfaction expressed by 
many commercial persons at the delusive advantages 
of free trade would be a fit subject for discussion.' 1 In 
my apprehension,' Portland went on, ' proposals such 
as I have stated cannot be resisted in Parliament with 
any effect. The refusal to accede to them, or to appoint 
Commissioners for a final adjustment on the ground 
of their own address, when they are assured that 
persons are properly authorised for that purpose, would 
be such an indication of sinister designs as would war- 
rant your direction to me to throw up the Government 
and leave them to that fate which their folly and treachery 
•should deserve. If such should be the sentiments of 
the King's servants, after using every endeavour to 
bring them to a sense of their condition, and of the 
consequences of such a refusal, I should hesitate as 
little to order the yacht and leave them to be 
the victims of their own insanity, as I should say 
that it would be useless to attempt to coerce them, 



and that the country on such terms would not be chap. 
worth possessing/ >- . 

4 I feel the strongest and most poignant reluctance 
in being obliged to recommend the mode of relation 
which I have taken the liberty to suggest. I see no 
other resource, for I am convinced that the spirit of 
this country is raised so high, that she would expose 
herself to any hazard rather than relinquish or retract 
any of the claims she has insisted on.' 1 It is my 
duty further to state to your lordship that unless it is 
determined that the knot which binds the two countries 
should be severed for ever, it is necessary I should be 
authorised as soon as possible to assure the leaders of 
the Opposition of the intention of the English Ad- 
ministration to exert their influence in convincing 
the Parliament of Great Britain of the propriety of 
conceding the points required by the Irish Parliament, 
for without such assurance it is vain to ask their 
assistance in any shape whatever.' 1 

Could England have anticipated at this moment 
the splendid triumphs of her arms with which the war 
which lost her America was about, notwithstand- 
ing, to be closed, the Cabinet might, perhaps, have 
decided to read Ireland the lesson which she so much 
needed, and to leave her, as Portland suggested, to be 
4 the victim of her own insanity.' The United States 
were free, but the allied powers were to gain little by 
having espoused their quarrel. At the beginning of 
the year no light had yet broken on the gloomy 
prospect. An expedition against the Dutch at the 

i'The Duke of Portland to land in the State Paper Office. Ex- 
Lord Shelburne. Secret. May 6.' tracts from them were laid by Mr. 
Abridged. I quote from the ori- Pitt before Parliament during the 
ginal letters of the Duke of Port- debates on the Union. 




book Cape had failed. Minorca, after a defence only less 
J^L_^ gallant than Elliott's, had fallen on the 5th of Feb- 
1782, ruary. Gibraltar held out, but the fate of Minorca 
was ominous that Gibraltar, too, might not resist for 
ever. De Grasse had returned, after Cornwallis's 
surrender, to the West Indies with the united fleets 
of France and Spain, and one after another the Lee- 
ward Islands had surrendered to their overwhelm- 
ing: strength. Jamaica's turn was next to follow. 
Jamaica, however, was not to be lost without an effort 
to save it, and Sir George Rodney returned to the 
West India station with all the force which England 
could supply. With, instinctive Irish dislike of dis- 
tinguished Englishmen Burke had depreciated Rod- 
ney's ability, and on the change of ministry an Ad- 
miralty order had been issued for his recall. Before 
the messenger could sail with it the work had been 
gloriously finished. Rodney came up with de Grasse 
on the evening of the 1 1th of April, forced him into 
action in the morning, and before nightfall the enor- 
mous armament was taken, sunk, or scattered. De 
Grasse himself was a prisoner, Jamaica was saved, 
and France was paid home for her share in the 
capitulation of York Town. 

Beaten from the West Indies the French and 
Spaniards turned all their efforts on Gibraltar. Forty 
thousand men were collected for a land attack. The 
ruined trenches were repaired and remounted with 
170 guns. The Due de Crillon, the conqueror of 
Minorca, took the command. The Comte d'Artois 
and the Due de Bourbon came to be present in person 
at the crowning humiliation which was to fall on the 
ancient enemy. Enormous floating batteries, bomb 
proof against such guns as had been hitherto in use, 



thronged with men and armed with the largest cannon chap. 
which skill could construct, were anchored under the — — 
batteries, with the combined fleets lying behind to ^.^u. 
support them. On the morning of the 13th of Sep- 
tember, the most terrible bombardment ever borne 
by a single fortress was opened by sea and land on 
Elliott and his five thousand English. The rigid 
blockade now long unrelieved had reduced them to 
rice and bread, and to half rations of those. The 
1 roast potatoes' of Gibraltar were the red hot shot 
with which Elliott replied to the hail of shell which 
rained upon him. All the forenoon the balls dropped 
hissing into the sea from off the impenetrable armour 
of the floating platforms. As the sun began to slope 
to the west light columns of smoke were seen ascend- 
ing from them, first here, then there, and then all 
along the line. Through telescopes the crews were 
observed leaving their guns and rushing to and fro 
with water-buckets, and still the smoke gained upon 
them, and through the smoke, clearer and brighter as 
daylight waned, came swirling tongues of flame. The 
doomed batteries lay incapable of motion, and fiercer 
vet flew the red hot shot from the casemates upon 
them till they became a roaring bank of fire floating 
on the sea. No answering shell came any longer 
from their portholes. The seamen and artillerymen 
were seen leaping into the water to escape the flames, 
and struggling back into the flames to escape the 
water; while at awful intervals magazine after maga- 
zine exploded, and in a glare of lurid splendour, 
blazing timbers and torn limbs of men were shot as 
from a volcano into the sulphur loaded air. 

Boats went out from the quay and saved all that 

could be found alive. The ships cf the besiegers lay 

z 2 



book paralysed by the appalling ruin, and after that awful 
- \ L _„ night no more attempts were made to drive the 
!782. English f rom the rock which they had so magnificently 
defended. A few days later Lord Howe came with 
a fleet from England. The French and Spanish 
squadron, though superior in numbers, dared not face 
him, and slunk away into their own harbours. The 
war was ended. The American colonies were lost ; 
but Great Britain still held fast grasped the sceptre 
which the greatest powers in Europe had in vain 
sought to tear from her, and sat down with the 
bloody laurels about her brow still sovereign of the 

At such a moment she could have afforded with 
neither fear nor shame to have granted to Ireland the 
independence which Grattan threatened that if un- 
conceded Ireland would take for herself. No foreign 
power could have penetrated the floating patrol with 
which England could have surrounded her shores, and 
shut her up within her own limits. Protestant and 
Catholic, Dissenter and Churchman, Anglo-Irish- 
man and Celt, would have enjoyed to the full the 
freedom for which they were so clamorous. A few 
years of liberty on those terms would probably have 
satisfied Grattan. The mutinous colony wouM have 
discovered the meaning of the 4 Nationality ' which 
they were so eager to revive, and such of the popu- 
lation of both races as survived when another Mac 
Morrough re-invited England's interference, would 
have been contented to remain for the future members 
of the British Empire on less uneasy terms. 

Circumstances forbade the experiment. The vic- 
tory came too late, and Portland had to yield uncon- 
ditionally. On the 17th of May, before the news 


arrived of Rodney's victory, Lord Shelburne and 
Fox invited the two Houses of the British Parliament 
to do what Eden had been rebuked for proposing a 
month before, and repeal the statute of George I. 
Fox spoke frankly, and, in the main, with truth. He 
admitted that Ireland had a right to distrust Bri- 
tish legislation 4 because it had hitherto been em- 
ployed only to oppress and distress her.' Had she 
never felt the English power over her as 4 a curse ' 
she would never have complained of it Fatally for 
the interests of both countries, England had used its 
strength to establish an impolitic monopoly in trade 
to enrich one at the expense of the other. So lately as 
but four years since, when the Irish asked to have 
their rights restored to them, Parliament refused to 
listen. Demands were disregarded which were no 
less modest than just. The influence of ministers was 
exerted against them, perhaps for the purpose of pre- 
serving a few votes on other occasions, and the rights 
and distresses of Ireland were forgotten. Circum- 
stances had changed. The Irish were now ambitious 
of larger concessions, and he advised that they should 
be granted. It was not that he was afraid, but he 
would rather, he said, see Ireland totally separated 
than kept in obedience by force. He undertook for 
them, like many an eager statesman before and since, 
that if they had what they now asked, ' they would 
be attached to England even to bigotry.' 

In neither House was there any opposition. The 
necessary measures could not be despatched on the 
instant, but resolutions which would be received as 
binding were passed unanimously, and were forwarded 
at once by Lord Shelburne to Portland. 

The repeal of the Act of George I., Shelburne said, 



book would remove what the Irish termed the principal 
— < cause of their discontent. The Writ of Error would 
be given up also if they persisted in demanding it. 
Irish Bills should be no longer altered or suppressed 
in Council. The Mutiny Bill should be made bien- 
nial, and no conditions should be insisted on. The 
Irish would be expected to make some suitable 
return, but what the return was to be should be left 
to their honour, good faith, and generosity. On one 
point only, to prevent future differences, there must 
be a distinct understanding. The Cabinet must 
know what powers were to be reserved to the Crown. 1 
All was now over. The Irish Parliament came 
together again after the three weeks' adjournment, 2 to 
hear from the Viceroy's lips that England had given 
way on the four points, and that they had obtained 
their desire. The announcement was conveyed with 
the more dignity that it was accompanied with the 
accounts which had now come in from the West 

In the ecstasy of joy into which Ireland precipitated 
herself, it seemed as if Fox's anticipations were really 
to be fulfilled. Sir Lucius O'Brien exclaimed that 
the strength of three millions of people was added to 
the British standard. Cordial now, as before he had 
been determined, Grattan grasped England's hand as 
of a recovered friend. Confidence in Ireland's ho- 
nour should never be placed in vain. 4 We were 
pledged to recover our rights,' he said. 4 We are 
now pledged to Great Britain, which, by acceding to 
our claims, has put an end to all further questions.' 
England's victories were now Ireland's. Ireland 

1 1 Shelburne to Portland, May 18, 1782.' S. P. 0. 

2 May 27. 



should have a share in all her future glories. Mr. chap. 
Grattan concluded by moving for a grant, which was I , L _ 
conceded instantly, of a hundred thousand pounds *^ 2, 
and twenty thousand seamen as a contribution to 
the navy of Great Britain. 

When the exultation over the political triumph was 
exhausted, the next thought was of the hero by 
whom it had been won. Mr. Bagenal, the same who 
fought De Blaquiere, moved for a committee to 
purchase an estate and build a suitable mansion for 
Ireland's illustrious benefactor, Henry Grattan. 

4 Far be it from me,' said the enthusiastic gentle- 
man, 1 to compare even the services of a Marlborough 
to those for which we stand indebted. We have no 
deductions to make from our gratitude. Without 
superstition, men may well record him among the 
most prosperous interpositions of Heaven.' 1 

Grattan rose to protest, but his voice was drowned 
in shouts of 4 Adjourn.' A day was appointed for a 
general thanksgiving. An address of gratitude was 
voted to the Crown, and addresses of thanks and 
congratulations to Portland and to Rodney. But 
the first thought of everyone was, 4 What should a 
generous country do for Grattan ? ' The Duke was 
as bitter at the meditated profusion as if the revenue 
was a fund sacred to Parliamentary corruption. 

1 Such is the inattention to the distressed circum- 
stances of the country,' he said, 4 that some manage- 
ment was necessary to keep this idea within bounds. 
I tried, but ineffectually, to have confined them to a 
recommendation of Mr. Grattan to the favour of the 
Crown, or at least to have got the quantum of reward 

1 Irish Debates, May 27, 1782. 



book left to his majesty. I next endeavoured for their 
— * own sakes to prevail on them to adopt the mode of 
May annuity to Mr. Grattan and his heirs, and on its 
being represented that a house was necessary as well 
as an income, I expressed my readiness to request his 
majesty to permit the Lodge lately contracted for in the 
Phoenix Park for the summer residence of the Lord- 
Lieutenant to be settled on Mr. Grattan. For this I 
was the more anxious as, in addition to the very ex- 
travagant price which the public have agreed to pay 
for it, I am persuaded that it will require at least 
10,000/. more to make it fit for the reception of the 
chief governor. No argument, however, would avail, 
and nothing would have prevented the vote in favour 
of Mr. Grattan, amounting to as large a sum as, or 
possibly exceeding, that given towards raising sea- 
men (100,000/.), but the interposition and firmness of 
Mr. Grattan's own particular friends, who assured the 
House Mr. Grattan would certainly refuse so glaring 
a mark of profusion/ 1 

Fifty thousand pounds was the sum at last agreed 
on, with a further grant for a house, many members, 
however, still raising their voices in protest. Mr. 
Ogle, of Wexford, hoped that Ireland was not imitat- 
ing Athens, which rewarded Miltiades with a picture. 
The Provost, flying into rhetoric in his old days, said 
that Chatham had received four thousand a year for 
his own life and his son's, and 4 great as were the abili- 
ties of Chatham he was less deserving than the object 
of the present motion.' 

Grattan himself lent* no countenance to this idle 
adulation. He accepted his 50,000/. as a retaining 

1 < The Duke of Portland to Lord Shelburne, June 5, 1782.' S. P. O. 



fee, and declared that thenceforth his services were chap. 


mortgaged to Ireland. He would accept no office < — -r — 
and enter into no engagement which might embarrass Jlln e.' 
him in his duty to his country. 

Nothing now remained but to celebrate in some 
fitting way the birthday of Irish nationality. Un- 
happily, as an Irish patriotic writer exclaims on 
the occasion, c it was written in the book of fate 
, that the felicity of Ireland should be short-lived.' 
Grattan had been modest in his victory, however 
unscrupulous the means by which he obtained it ; 
and however worthless it was ultimately to prove, 
in the eyes of the Irish nation it'was of infinite value. 
Had he consented to a compromise he could not have 
named a reward too high for Rockingham and Port- 
land to have thrust upon him. Even patriots cannot 
subsist on air, and in allowing a modest provision to 
be settled upon him, Mr. Grattan was rather confer- 
ring an honour •than receiving a favour. So every 
rational person must have regarded the grant of the 
Parliament, but there were members of the House of 
Commons who were not rational. Was Grattan to 
have a splendid reward, and was the antagonist of 
Lord Townshend, who had fought for Ireland when 
Grattan was a child, was Henry Flood, the veteran 
warrior of liberty, to have nothing ? Mr. Montgo- 
mery, of Donegal, rose to remind the House c of the 
best, the most able, the most indefatigable, the most 
sincere man that had ever sacrificed private interest 
to the advantage of his country. Mr. Flood had re- 
linquished the most lucrative office in the State rather 
than desert the constitution of Ireland.' He moved 
an address to the King, to restore Flood to the Vice- 
Treasurership. 4 He would not move,' he said, 1 for a 



book pecuniary reward, as he knew the right hon. gen- 
__XL__, tleman was above receiving an alms from his 
V 82, country.' 

June. J 

The advocacy of Flood did not require an insult to 
Grattan, an insult the more uncalled for as Grattan 
was at once poor and profusely generous, and Flood 
had a large private fortune. The House listened with 
surprise and annoyance. Colonel Fitzpatrick, the 
Secretary, seeing how bad an effect Montgomery had 
produced, replied coldly that the Vice-Treasurership 
was no longer vacant. Montgomery did not improve 
his friend's chances by his rejoinder. ' He had indeed 
heard,' he said, ' that the place had been bestowed on 
a certain insignificant and contemptible Sir George 
Yonge, whose ill-offices to Ireland might possibly 
at some time be properly rewarded,' but at present 
Sir George Yonge might be required to give way. 

Fitzpatrick placed himself in the hands of the 
House. If the House pleased to vote an address to 
remove Sir George Yonge in Mr. Flood's favour, he 
said he could make no objection. 

But now up started Sir George Yonge's friends, 
among them Sir Henry Cavendish, a noted fire-eater, 
as the reader will remember. 1 The charges against 
that gentleman,' Sir Henry said, c he would prove 
false, false, false, absolutely false verbatim et literatim.' 

Following so immediately on the grand movement 
which was to give Ireland a renewal of life, this petty 
outburst of feeling was unlucky and unpromising. 
What followed was very much worse. Had Flood's 
pretensions been modestly put forward, the House 
would very likely have supported them. Introduced 
as they had been introduced by Montgomery, his 
claims were ignored and thrust aside r Those who 



had once hung upon his lips slighted him. He had chap. 
lost the office for which he was so anxious. His . — 
advances to Portland had not recovered for him his l 782- 


seat in the Council, and he was childishly disap- 
pointed. With a transparent jealousy he looked for 
flaws in Grattan' s workmanship. He discovered 
that after all both Grattan and the House of Com- 
mons were the dupes of English cunning, and if 
within the walls of the House he counted but few 
followers, he found credulous listeners in the Vo- 
lunteers and the mob, whose suspicions were ready 
to kindle at every Avord uttered against the here- 
ditary oppressors. 

At Ireland's desire England had repealed the 6th 
of George I. Mr. Flood insisted that the repeal 
was nothing, because what England surrendered 
England might resume. He required, and the Vo- 
lunteers echoed his demand, that the British Parlia- 
ment should pass a special Act renouncing for ever 
all pretence of legislating for Ireland. It was ob- 
vious folly, for one Parliament could not bind its 
successor. An Act which one Parliament passed 
another might repeal. Nay, the very appeal to 
Britain to renounce a right implied that it at pre- 
sent existed. 

' If the security which the honourable gentleman 
desires be a British statute,' said Grattan, 4 I re- 
ject it. I would reject Magna Charta under a 
British statute. We have not come to England for 
a charter but with a charter, and we have asked her 
to cancel all her declarations made in opposition to it. 
This is the true idea of the situation of Ireland. 
If we go on with a spirit of insatiety, supposing ideal 
dangers, we may find food for perpetual discontent.' 



book Grattan, too, was hereafter to find food for dis- 
- V , L > content on equally imaginary grounds, but compared 
June ' w * tn Flood he was sane. The sense and nonsense of | 
the House of Commons alike condemned an absurd 
outburst, which was so plainly the creation of spleen 
and envy. 

The 6th of George L, said Yelverton, asserts the 
power of the British Legislature to bind Ireland. The 
repeal of the law is a renunciation as plain as words 
can make it. 

4 Our asking a renunciation/ said Bagenal, with an 
illustration too familiar to Irish experience, 4 would 
be the revival of the claim. A woman is violated. A 
man usurps the powers of a husband, gives out she is 
his wife, lavishes her fortune upon prostitutes, at last 
abandons her. Is it prudent of that woman to sue 
for a divorce ? Might not such a suit be pleaded in 
proof of a claim of which no other evidence can be 
produced ? ' 

Nothing satisfied Flood. He replied with a tem- 
pest of words which raged for hours and ended in a 

4 Was the voice with which I utter this/ he said, 
4 the last effort of expiring nature ; was the accent 
which conveys it to you the breath which was to 
waft me to that grave to which we all tend, and to 
which my footsteps rapidly accelerate, I would go on ; 
I would make my exit by a loud demand of your 

Oratory is the saddest of efforts when the audience 
is out of sympathy with the speaker. The House 
knew Flood and knew his motives. They would not 
have the renunciation in any form. Leave was asked 
to bring in a Bill declaring the sole and exclusive 



right of the Irish Parliament to make laws in all cases chap. 

• ii 
whatever, internal or external, for the kingdom of ^ — ^ 

Ireland. Such a Bill, had it been passed, would have \ 7 ^' 
given Ireland separate foreign relations, and a com- 
plete separate code of commercial policy. The House 
rejected it without a division. But the House stulti- 
fied itself immediately after by resolving that leave 
had been refused because the exclusive right of legis- 
lation in the Irish Parliament in all cases, internal and 
external, had been already asserted by Ireland and 
fully, irrevocably, and finally acknowledged by 
England.' 1 

They had rushed in the wild haste of enthusiasm 
into what they called constitutional liberty ; and 
ere it was a month old, they were quarrelling over 
its limits, and were unable to say clearly what rights 
they had gained, or in what their liberty consisted. 

In the midst of their differences, however, they 
had not neglected important work, and many mea- 
sures — some foolish, some excellent, and too long 
delayed — were swept through by the impetuous 
torrent of this memorable session. Poynings' Act 
was shaken off. Heads of intended Bills were no 
longer submitted to the 'Privy Councils of England 
and Ireland to be amended or approved before they 
could take the form of laws, and as such be voted 
upon. The Irish Parliament drew its Bills, like the 
English Parliament, for the Crown to accept or reject. 
The process was simplified. A power, which had 
been abused, was abolished ; but a precaution, which 
for 300 years had prevented a direct collision between 
the Legislatures of the two countries, no longer 

1 Irish Debates, June 19, 1782. Commons Journals, Ibid. 



book existed. The Writs of Error, by which disputed 

. causes might be transferred by appeal from the Irish 

1 r 782, to the English courts of law, ceased to be issued. 

June. o ' 

The Irish House of Peers was made the final court 
of appeal in Irish cases, with a result which will 
be apparent on the first important question which 
came before the jurisdiction of that tribunal. The 
two Catholic Relief Bills, introduced by Mr. Gar- 
diner, were carried. Catholics might now purchase 
freeholds like other subjects, open schools, and edu- 
cate their children when and how they pleased. 
Their stables were no longer open to inspection, or 
their horses above the value of five pounds liable to 
be seized by the Government, or taken from them by 
informers. 1 A cheap and inonerous system of re- 
gistration was adopted for the Catholic priests ; and 
the Acts which in any shape interfered with the free- 
dom, of religious worship were repealed. 2 The 
Habeas Corpus Act, so long withheld, was conceded. 
The tenure of the Irish judges was placed at last on 
the English level. Presbyterian marriages, so long 
and so bitterly disputed by the bishops, were made 
valid in law. The Perpetual Mutiny Act, fought 
over with so much obstinacy, became biennial, and the 
Irish Parliament acquired constitutional control over 
the Irish military establishments. 

Now, at last, all obstacles to the Irish millennium 
were gone ; every measure had been granted which 
the people had demanded as necessary to their hap- 
piness. The new era might now begin, and the 

1 The horses of Mr. Wyse were his carriage into Waterford with 

once taken from him under the four bulls. 

Penal Act, from a plea of some an- 2 21 & 22 George III. c. 24. s. 

ticipated disturbance. Wyse the 62. Irish statutes, 
next day, like another Jason, drove 



business of the year was wound up by an address of chap. 
congratulation to the Duke of Portland, drawn by < — ^ — 
Grattan himself. . ][ H J' 

' We have seen,' so the address said, 4 the judges 
rendered independent of the Crown ; the mutiny 
law abridged in duration ; the jurisdiction of the 
hereditary judges of the land restored; the vicious 
mode of passing laws in this land reformed ; the sole 
and exclusive right of legislation, external as well 
as internal, in the Irish Parliament firmly asserted 
on the part of Ireland and unequivocally acknow- 
ledged on the part of Great Britain. We have seen 
this great national arrangement established on a 
basis which secures the tranquillity of Ireland, and 
unites the affections as well as the interests of both 
kingdoms. The name of Bentinck will remain en- 
graved on our hearts ; and whenever your Grace 
shall withdraw from the administration of the affairs 
of this country, you will be attended, not by forced 
and jaded benedictions, but by the manly and dignified 
love of a free people.' 

A last effort was made by Flood to disturb the 
general harmony. He moved an amendment, that 
England's concessions were still insufficient, for the 
English Parliament had still power to revoke them ; 
and ' that the people of Ireland were growing more 
and more of that opinion.' It was perfectly true, 
and the difficulty rose from the nature of the case, 
which nothing which Mr. Flood might do could 
remedy. So long as England was the stronger 
country, prudence and respect for her engagements 
could alone prevent her from asserting her superiority. 
The dead could not bind the living, and each genera- 
tion would have its own view of its obligations. It 



book will be seen that the Parliament of Great Britain 
— ^ — . humoured afterwards the nervous sensitiveness of 
Juuo Ireland so far as to paint the lily, and to confirm its 
acts by further words of assurance ; but no addi- 
tional promises could add strength to the engagements 
to which the honour of the existing representation 
was pledged already. The Irish Parliament refused 
for the present to allow Mr. Flood to alarm it. His 
amendment was rejected. His attempt to supplant 
Grattan in the confidence of the House of Commons 
by affectation of superior discernment was a decisive 
failure ; and unable to endure the spectacle of his 
rival's triumph, and of the national exultation, 
which he had not been the instrument of producing, 
he left the country and went to England. 

4 His objects,' wrote Portland, 4 are to me, and I 
believe to everyone else, a perfect secret. Although 
his character is so well known, I think it my duty to 
apprise the Cabinet of his arrival, and to give it, as 
my opinion, that his ambition is so immeasurable 
that no dependence can be placed upon any engage- 
ments which he may be induced to form.' 1 

Adoring friends took charge of his reputation in 
his absence. Beside the Duke's disparaging com- 
ments may be placed a sketch of Flood presented to 
an ungrateful House of Commons by Martin, the 
member for James Town. 

' Mr. Flood is the greatest character that has ever 
adorned this country ; a character not to be profaned 
by the tongue of impious men ; whose name will die 
only when our constitution expires, whose tran- 
scendent abilities will be handed down to posterity 
while the history of this planet shall be read ; the 

1 1 Duke of Portland to Secretary Townshend, August 9.' S. P. 0. 

• ".^1 _ 


present adoration of this age, whose death will here- chap. 
after be lamented as the bitterest calamity with . — -r- — - 
which an angry heaven has visited this island, whose j' u j^' 
transcendent merit is such that it keeps the merit of 
every other man at an awful and respectful distance, 
whose abilities are of such a godlike nature, that I 
protest, if ever I shall stand forward, the advocate 
of the present era, I shall do it by telling my son, 
if God shall ever bless me with a child, that the 
period in which I existed was preferable to that in 
which he may live, because I lived in the same era 
and had the honour to be born in the same country 
with that great man.' 1 

Mr. Flood had still nine years of public life before 
him, in which to show whether his admirers or his 
detractors had formed the clearer estimate of his 
character. Meantime a chapter of Irish history had 
been closed, a fresh page turned, and the floor swept 
clean for the opening of a new era. In July Lord 
Rockingham died. Fox and his immediate followers 
retired from the Cabinet ; and Shelburne became 
Prime Minister, with "William Pitt for Chancellor of 
the Exchequer. The Duke of Portland having done 
his work was glad to leave the scene of his eventful 
labours, while the halcyon days of hope were still 
unclouded ; and Lord Temple, who had married the 
heiress of the Nugents, and was then the representa- 
tive of a great Irish house, was chosen for the first 
Viceroy of the emancipated Ireland. 

1 Irish Debates, 1782. 


A A 






book Mr. Grattan had created a nation, but from the 

VII. ... 
— r-^— haste with which the infant had been brought to 

1782 . ... 

birth its limbs were half formed, and its constitution 

critical. The Catholics recovered their civil rights, 

but Ireland was still politically Protestant. The 

connection with England was reduced to the tie of 

the common sovereign. The Irish Parliament claimed 

an independent power of legislation, external as well 

as internal. Was Ireland to have a separate foreign 

policy, 1 her own Ministers at foreign courts, her own 

consuls at the ports where she sold her merchandise ? 

Was she to create a navy of her own to defend her 

interests on the high seas? Was she to maintain 

cruisers to protect her coasts from smugglers ? Or 

if she was still to depend on the British navy, was 

1 ' The Irish Parliament was, in take the advice of the Irish Parlia- 

fact, ambitious of having a voice in ment in matters relating to war and 

matters of peace or war, and hinted peace, the utmost confusion must be 

as much at the time when peace the consequence." — Lord North to 

was made. " If," Lord North pro- the Earl of Northington, November 

perly replied, "the King was to 3, 1783.' S. P. 0. 


she to contribute a specified sum to the support of it, chap. 
or was she to be left always, as in the lat.e session, 
to 4 her own generosity?' Her incipient manufac- 17 
tures were said to require protection. Was she to be 
allowed to lay prohibitive duties on competing Eng- 
lish goods, and if so, was England to be bound 
under the terms of the linen compact to exclude the 
linens of Russia and Germany from her markets, 
while she admitted the produce of the Irish looms 
duty-free ? Again, was Ireland to have a share in the 
close trade of Great Britain with her colonies, while 
she refused Great Britain a voice in the terms on 
which the trade was to be carried on ? These points and 
many others lay within the legislative limits which 
had been challenged by the Irish patriots. The Con- 
stitution of 1782 would have possessed more vitality 
if the period of gestation had been prolonged till the 
statesmen of both countries had considered and pro- 
vided for them. But the sanguine Irish tempera- 
ment was impatient of delay. The opportunity was 
seized when patriotism was at fever heat. The favour- 
able moment, once lost, might never have returned. 

Nor was it only on the side of the relations with 
England that difficulties threatened to arise. The Dun- 
o-annon resolutions had declared that the Kino:. Lords, 
and Commons of Ireland had alone a right to pass laws 
which Irishmen were bound to obey. Yet beside 
King, Lords, and Commons there existed still a rival 
authority, created by the Irish people themselves, 
whose function was to keep Parliament to its work. 
In the Phcenix Park were seen daily exercising the 
Artillery companies of an army which, being the re- 
presentative of the national strength of Ireland, was, 
in its own opinion, the guardian of her liberties, the 

A A 2 



book ultimate expression of the national mind, and only 

J*^'~> responsible to itself. 

With the peace the excuse had ceased for the ex- 
istence of the Volunteers. But the Volunteers showed 
no disposition to disband. When the session of 1782 
ended, the number on the rolls was 130,000. There 
were, perhaps, 50,000 with the colours. The Volun- 
teer army in theory was purely Protestant. Catholics 
were still forbidden to possess arms. But the Catho- 
lics had subscribed liberally, and in the general 
enthusiasm the opinions of the rank and file had not 
been looked into too curiously. Thus this singular 
body, which in the judgment of Irishmen was the 
wonder of mankind, and had raised their country to 
a level with the great military powers of Europe, had 
become what the Parliament was not — a substan- 
tially national institution, and possessed and pre- 
served alone the confidence of the people. 

The composition of the force deserves .more parti- 
cular notice. It had been raised by private subscrip- 
tion, or at the expense of enthusiastic individuals. 
There was no system of general finance ; there were 
no stores, no arsenal, no commissariat. In the 
towns there were lawyers' corps, doctors' corps, 
shopkeepers' corps, merchants' corps, artisan corps. 
The cavalry companies were mounted, officered, 
and accoutred by the country gentlemen from their 
household servants, farm servants, and tenants, and the 
cost was provided by mortgages on their lands. It was 
said in Ireland that when the heir of an estate came 
of age money was raised to pay off encumbrances. 
The money was had and was spent, but from some 
cause the encumbrances remained. Light-hearted, 
extravagant, all living beyond their means, the gen- 



tlemen of Ireland had 4 fewer cares than any people chap. 
in the world.' 4 Debt,' says Sir Jonah Barrington, — 
1 gave new zest to the dissipation which created it.' 1782 * 
Adored by their dependents, so long as they prac- 
tised no economy and did not vex them with im- 
provements or increase of rents, they lived from hand 
to mouth, taking no thought for the morrow; while 
the humblest peasant on the estate knew no law but 
the master's word, and was ready to defy in his name 
all the constables and bailiffs of the land. Out of 
such a following a Volunteer regiment was easily 
formed. A mortgage, more or less, mattered little, 
and with the prospect of the boundless wealth which 
was to flow into Ireland with the attainment of 
liberty, was regarded as a promising investment. 
Each gentleman vied with his neighbour in the 
splendour with which he could bring his corps to a 
review. Mounted squadrons wheeled and caracoled 
in all the hues of the birds of the tropics — green and 
scarlet, white and blue, gold and silver. Too curious 
enquiry may, perhaps, trace the last effects of the 
effervescence in the disappearance of many names 
from the roll of the Irish gentry. The brief blaze 
of glory was extinguished in bankruptcy. 

Lord Charlemont commanded in chief ; the Duke 
of Leinster in his own province. Guards were mounted 
at the gates of these two noblemen. Escorts followed 
them in the streets. Sentinels stood at the doors of 
their boxes when they visited the theatres. Yet, 
with all this magnificence, the regiments could not 
be moved two days' march from their homes, and 
the functions which they combined of soldiers and 
politicians necessitated the placing persons in high 
commands who were better in debating clubs than in 


the field. The colonel of the Phoenix Park Artillery 
Corps, for instance, was a Dublin ironmonger, named 
Napper Tandy, who had pushed himself into noto- 
riety as the bullying demagogue of the corporation ; 
small, ugly, ill-shaped, with no talent but for speech; 
a coward in action, a noisy fool in council. Homer 
had drawn Napper's portrait three thousand years 
before in 4 Thersites.' 

The corps officered by the gentry, too, might 
have been found wanting in time of trial for other 

Mr. Bagenal, an enthusiastic admirer of Grattan, 
had been among the most active promoters of the 
Volunteer movement. Beauchamp Bagenal was the 
4 Admirable Crichton ' of his day — the preceptor and 
shining example of the rising generation of aspiring 
Irishmen. 1 He had inherited a large fortune. He 
had travelled in splendour on the Continent, had 
fought a prince, jilted a princess, run away with a 
Spanish duchess, broken into a convent in search of 
a nun, made the Doge of Venice drunk, and per- 
formed fifty other exploits no less extraordinary. 
When the Volunteers began to arm, none were more 
forward with help and encouragement than Beau- 

1 He was the most notorious 
duellist of his day. He had called 
out De Blaquiere only to try his 
mettle. He occasionally submitted 
his younger friends to the same 
test. His relation and godson, 
Bagenal Harvey, who was hanged 
afterwards for treason, was once 
staying with him at his house at 
Dunleckny. The old gentleman 
took his guest out for a walk one 
morning in the park, fastened some 
absurd quarrel upon him, produced 
pistols, and forced him to fight. 

Bagenal Harvey, finding there was 
no escape, did the best that he 
could for himself, took a steady 
aim, and sent a ball through Beau- 
champ Bagenal's coat. Instead of 
shooting at him in return, old Ba- 
genal exclaimed, ' You damned 
young villain ! you had like to have 
killed your godfather ; yes, you 
dog, or your father, too, for any- 
thing I know to the contrary. I 
only wanted to see if you were 
brave. Go in, and order breakfast. 
I shall be at home directly.' 



champ Bagenal. Jonah Barrington was present when chap. 

he reviewed the Carlow and Kilkenny regiments in . 

his park at Dunleckny. He drove between the lines 
in an open carriage with six horses, a bottle of claret 
in one hand and a glass in the other, drinking the 
officers' healths. The officers were called up singly 
to the side of the carriage, and were made to drain a 
tumbler of claret in turn to the Volunteers of Ireland. 
In the evening there was a ball and supper at the 
house. The rank and file for whom there was no 
room under the roof camped out in the summer night 
with unlimited wine and whisky; and in the morn- 
ing the park was like a field of battle, strewed over 
with prostrate bodies, unable to move — c the most 
curious exhibition,' observes Sir Jonah, 4 which could 
be conceived by persons not accustomed to those days 
of dissipation.' 

The existence of a large force, so constructed and 
so disciplined, was an awkward feature in a young 
Constitution, not the less so that the political self-con- 
fidence of the Volunteers was on a level with their esti- 
mate of themselves as soldiers; and that they were 
aware that, except for them, the Constitution would 
never have come into being. Business was at a 
standstill. The artisan had left his home, the farmer 
his fields, the lawyer his chambers — all to regenerate 
their country. They had no misgivings as to their 
own capacity, and they did not mean to go back to 
their ordinary callings till the country was regene- 
rated to their minds. As Denis Daly expressed him- 
self to Grattan — 

4 The Volunteers are ready to determine any ques- 
tion in the whole circle of the sciences which shall be 
proposed to them, and to burn any unfortunate per- 
son that doubts their infallibility.' 




book Xhe armed guardians of Irish liberty had occasion to 

— — ' be watchful. The Irish Parliament, in its first exu- 

berance of gratitude, had voted 2,000 men for the 
naval service. On the conclusion of peace, many- 
ships were put out of commission. The additional 
seamen were unneeded, and it was suggested that 
5,000 out of the whole number should be formed 
into regiments for service on land. The Argus- 
eyes of the Volunteers discovered in the proposal 
an insidious purpose of restoring the regular army 
to its full complement, as a step towards dispensing 
with their services. Lord Temple, who arrived 
at the Castle to find himself sitting on a volcano, 
was obliged to deprecate with the most passionate 
earnestness so dangerous a scheme. 1 

A people on the watch for treachery see malignant 
designs in the most innocent accidents. The first 
alarm had no sooner subsided, than a fresh aggression 
set the country in a flame. Irish causes, it had 
been agreed, were for the future to be decided in the 
Irish courts. An outstanding Irish case which had 
been long since carried by appeal to England, came 
on in the King's Bench in the Autumn Term of 1782, 
and Lord Mansfield gave judgment upon it. The 
Irish, who owed the recovery of their privileges to 

1 1 1 do not hesitate to assert that chance of raising a further body of 

such a proposal, even if it was men for the sea service. — Lord 

warranted by the terms of the vote Temple to Secretary Townshend. 

— which, in fact, is not the case — Secret and private. September 21, 

would entirely annihilate every 1782.' S.P.O. 



circumstances which no longer existed, were on the chap. 
watch for symptoms that England meant again to — b — 
enslave them. A people can afford to be calm who, 1783, 
in possession of their natural rights, feel that if as- 
sailed they can maintain them by force. The Irish 
had no such confidence. The Volunteers who had 
already taken Flood's side against Grattan on the 
insufficiency of the late concession, shrieked imme- 
diately that Ireland was betrayed. 

Temple, in despair, appeared to share their sus- 
picions. ' Having struggled,' he said, 4 in resisting 
ideal grievances, I could not explain away this busi- 
ness. I do not wonder at the ferment into which all 
ranks of people are thrown. England is obliged by 
every tie of natural faith to complete a compact which 
is clearly incomplete.' Something, he insisted, must 
be done, and done instantly, to compose the alarm, 
even if an Act of Parliament had to be passed to 
annul Lord Mansfield's decision. 1 Innocent of the 
faintest design to disturb Ireland's peace of mind, 
Lord Shelburne's Cabinet professed its willingness to 
do whatever she desired. The judgment had been 
given on a case already before the English Court. 
The situation could not recur, for writs of error being 
no longer issued, no more cases could be referred. 
Yet whatever satisfaction Ireland demanded they 
were ready to give. The advanced patriots asked for 
Flood's Renunciation Bill. Flood's ' Renunciation 
Bill ' they should have, and Mr. Townshend intro- 
duced a bill into the British Parliament for c removing 
doubts ' and affirming the final competence of the 
Irish Courts in all cases whatever, 2 William Grenville, 

1 ' Lord Temple to Secretary secret' S. P. 0. 
Townshend, November 20. Most 2 23 George III. cap. 28. 




book Lord Temple's secretary, coming over to explain and 
support the Irish plea. 

In both Houses during the passage of this Bill the 
position in which Ireland was placing herself was 
naturally remarked upon. Lord Aberdeen enquired 
whether the Irish tie was to be no more than the 
Hanoverian, or whether the Irish people were still 
subjects of the British Crown. If they were to be on 
the footing of the Hanoverians, they were aliens and 
could not sit in the British Legislature. A union 
was hinted at as the best solution of the problem, 
and though the Renunciation Bill was carried, it was 
carried against the opinions of Fox and of the Duke 
of Portland. 

To smooth the ruffled waters and gratify the 
national vanity, Lord Temple instituted in March 
the new order of the Knights of St. Patrick. On the 
17th, St. Patrick's Day, the leading members of the 
Irish aristocracy were installed with becoming mag- 
nificence. But the Volunteers were not to be caught 
with gilded chaff or compliments to the peerage. 
They had serious business still on hand. Lord Shel- 
burne went out of office. The Coalition Government 
came in with Portland at its head, and Fox and North 
as joint Secretaries of State. The anomaly, in 
many ways absurd, was less mischievous as it 
affected Ireland, for Portland, who knew the secret 
history of the transactions of 1782, was resolute to 
give way no further. He saw that Temple was made 
of too soft material to deal successfully with an un- 
reasonable people. He recalled him in spite of the 
outcry that he was taking away Ireland's friend, 
and Robert Henley, Earl of Northington, was sent in 
his place to open Parliament for the autumn session. 



Under the Octennial Act, the Parliament elected chap. 

in 1776 had still a year's life in it, but the alteration J. 

of the constitution had changed the relations between 
the Legislature and the Castle. Their increased inde- 
pendence enabled both Peers and Commoners to com- 
mand higher terms for their support, and Lord 
Northington found on his arrival a general demand 
for a dissolution. The old system, it was very evi- 
dent, was not only to continue, but to flourish with 
added vigour. Larger liberty among men who had 
not earned it by their own virtue meant what, under 
such circumstances, it must always mean, larger folly 
and grosser corruption. 

No disguise was attempted, no affectation of turning 
away the eyes, while the bribe was silently accepted. 
6 I am met,' Lord Northington wrote, ' with preten- 
sions and claims of various natures which I would 
gladly have had more time to consider, to arrange 
the interests, satisfy the expectations of the claimants, 
and acquire the strength which Government ought 
to have at the opening of a new Parliament. I have 
no reason to feel much anxiety with regard to the 
strength which is to be obtained by the support of 
considerable interests, as I have received flattering 
assurances of their good disposition.' 1 

In one quarter only, and where he had least looked 
for it, the Viceroy encountered difficulties. The 
boroughs belonging to the bishops the Castle had 
always regarded as Crown property, 'as providing 
opportunities of bringing into Parliament persons con- 
nected with the Government.' The new ideas of liberty 
had reached the Right Reverend Bench. The Bishops 

1 1 The Earl of Northington to Lord North, July 1, 1783.' 



book of Ferns and Ossory when applied to in the usual way 
. IL _ , answered 4 that their seats were already disposed of.' 
1783. ]jf ag ^he English lion so dead that even the bench 

July. . . 

could spurn at it? Northington wrote for instructions 
\ in so extraordinary a case.' 4 Was he to signify to 
those prelates his majesty's disapprobation of their 
conduct ? ' 

4 The King is unwilling to interfere,' Lord North 
replied, 4 but he agrees with your Excellency that it 
is extremely improper conduct.' 1 

A Parliament elected under the influence of lords 
and gentlemen who were seeking visibly their per- 
sonal interests, was not likely to be satisfactory to 
Ireland in its existing state of inflated excitement. 
There had been a bad harvest. The potato crop had 
failed ; work of all kinds had been neglected in the 
mania for volunteering; and instead of a millennium, 
in spite of the Eenunciation Bill, there was a prospect 
of absolute famine. The most mischievous conse- 
quence of a really unjust legislation, such as Ireland 
had suffered under before the removal of the trade 
restrictions, is that it teaches people to look to poli- 
tical changes as a sure remedy for what is amiss with 
them. Ireland had really no industrial grievance 
left. She needed only quiet and industry to become 
as prosperous as Scotland or England. Political 
agitation was an easier, and, as the Irish believed, a 
more certain road to renovation. Pitt had begun to 
speak in England of a reform of Parliament. Ireland, 
too, began to talk of reforming her Parliament. The 
Constitution of '82 had been believed to be the crest 
of the mountain till it was achieved. From the 

1 'The Earl of Northington to to the Earl of Northington, July 
Lord North, July 1. Lord North 11, 1783.' S. P. 0. 



brow of the ridge another peak had come into sight, chap. 
All would not be well, indeed nothing would be well, L _ 
without a free legislature and a free constitution. 1783, 
The Irish House of Commons was undoubtedly an 
absurd caricature. If Ireland was to be governed by 
a Parliament at all, it could not be other than a cari- 
cature, so long as the connection with England was 
maintained. The majority of the Irish people desired 
entire independence. An assembly which fairly repre- 
sented them would reflect wishes which could be real- 
ised only by separation, and, therefore, any assembly 
calling itself representative must in a greater or less 
degree be an unreality so long as the connection with 
England continued. The privilege asserted and ob- 
tained for the Irish Parliament in the late changes 
made the retention of political power in the hands 
of those who were amenable to influence more than 
ever a constitutional necessity. To reform the House 
of Commons was avowedly to give power to those 
classes who demanded objects incompatible with 
dependence on the English Crown, to precipitate 
internal quarrels, and bring about either total separa- 
tion or a forced incorporation in the Empire. The 
House as it stood was formed exclusively of Pro- 
testants. The experiment of an assembly composed 
of representatives of both creeds had been tried and 
had failed. The House was formed also almost ex- 
clusively of Protestants of the Established Church. 
The Presbyterians were not disfranchised, but their 
county influence was small, and in the boroughs the 
members were returned usually by the corporations 
from which they had been hitherto excluded by the 
Test Act. Two members sate for each of the 32 
counties. The boroughs and cities returned 236. 


book The county electors were free, subject only to the 

. IJL^ influence of the landowners. Sixty borough seats 

178 ' 3, were partially free; i.e. the electors, if careless of 
consequences, might, by an effort, make an inde- 
pendent choice. A hundred and seventy-six seats 
out of the whole number of three hundred, were the 
property of bishops, peers, and commoners. They 
were bought and sold without disguise. The per- 
petual advowson (if the phrase may be used) of a 
borough was worth eight or nine thousand pounds. 
A single seat in a single Parliament could be had for 
2,000/., and the purchaser avowedly intended to re- 
coup himself by the sale of his vote. Under such a 
system the Volunteers discovered that the victory 
which they had achieved was valueless. The Castle, 
with its patronage and its pension list, would always be 
too much for them. Accident had enabled them to 
obtain free trade and the free constitution, but the 
conditions favourable to them might never recur. 
The net would again close round them and they would 
be slaves once more. The Volunteers saw the danger 
to their liberties ; experience had painfully taught 
them that England, if she recovered her authority, 
might again abuse it. And they were possessed with 
the flattering illusion which was pervading the air of 
Europe, that public virtue is not the parent of liberty, 
but its child ; that to emancipate a people from control, 
and place the power of the State in their hands, was 
to raise their character to a level with their new 
duties, and unlock all the gates to them which led to 
prosperity and happiness. 

There is no word in human language which so 
charms the ear as liberty. There is no word which 
so little pains have been taken to define, or which is 



used to express ideas more opposite. There is a chap. 

liberty which is the liberty of a child or a savage, the - ^ — 

liberty of animals, the vagrant liberty, which obeys j' u f y °' 
no restraint, for it is conscious of no obligation. 
There is a liberty which arises from the subjugation of 
self and the control of circumstances, which consists 
in knowledge of what ought to be done, and a power 
to do it obtained by patient labour and discipline. 
The artisan or the artist learns in an apprenticeship 
under the guidance of others to conquer the diffi- 
culties of his profession. When the conquest is 
complete he is free. He has liberty— he commands 
his tools, he commands his own faculties. He has 
become a master. 

It is with life as a whole, as with the occupations 
into which life is divided. Those only are free men 
who have had patience to learn the conditions of a 
useful and honourable existence, who have overcome 
their own ignorance and their own selfishness, who 
have become masters of themselves. 

The iirst liberty is the liberty of anarchy, which to 
a man should be a supreme object of detestation. The 
second liberty is the liberty of law, which has made 
the name the symbol of honour, and has made the 
thing the supreme object of desire. But the enthu- 
siasm for true liberty has in these modern times been 
transferred to its opposite. With a singular inversion 
of cause and effect, men have seen in liberty not the 
exercise and the reward of virtues which have been 
acquired under restraint, but some natural fountain, 
a draught from which is to operate as a spell for the 
regeneration of our nature. Freedom as they picture 
it to themselves is like air and light, a condition in 
which the seeds of excellence are alone able to 



book germinate. Who is free ? asked the ancient sage, and 
he answered his own question. The wise man who 

j^ 3, is master of himself. Who is free? asks the modern 
liberal politician, and he answers, the man who has a 
voice in making the laws which he is expected to 
obey. Does the freedom of a painter consist in his 
having himself consented to the laws of perspective, 
and light and shade? That nation is the most free 
where the laws, by whomsoever framed, correspond 
most nearly to the will of the Maker of the universe, 
by whom, and not by human suffrage, the code of 
rules is laid down for our obedience. That nation 
is most a slave which has ceased to believe that 
such divinely appointed laws exist, and will only be 
bound by the Acts which it places on its statute 

Considerations like these were too homely for the 
minds of practical politicians of the eighteenth century. 
The world was growing weary of its aristocracies. 
Political reform was the cry of the hour, and it 
must be allowed for the Irish enthusiasts that there 
was no country in Europe in which the ruling families 
had made a worse use of the power committed to 
them. The further the secrets of Irish administration 
are looked into the more uniform the spectacle ; noble 
lords and gentlemen recruiting the fortunes which 
they had ruined in idle extravagance by selling their 
political influence, while their special duties as guar- 
dians of the law and rulers over their tenantry were 
not only undischarged, but not so much as known to 

Pitt was moving with his own ends. The Volun- 
teers followed the example for theirs. Delegates 
met throughout the summer at Belfast and Lisburn. 



Schemes were sent out, and outlines of them scattered chap. 

for approval through the southern provinces. The 

first convention at Dungannon had succeeded so j u ^.' 
brilliantly that a second was determined on, to be 
held at the same place on the 8th of September. 

As a preparation for this meeting an address was 
issued to the Volunteer army of Ulster. They were 
informed 1 that the Imperial Crown of Ireland had 
been restored by their efforts to its original splen- 
dour, and the nation to its inherent rights as an inde- 
pendent state ; ' fc the distracted inhabitants had been 
united in an indissoluble bond through an unparal- 
leled combination of the civil and military authority; ' 
4 it now remained to abolish the courtly mercenaries 
who preyed on the vitals of public virtue, and prevent 
the return of venal majorities to support dishonour- 
able measures.' 

When September arrived the delegates came toge- 
ther, representatives of 270 companies; and this time, 
unprompted by Grattan, they set out of their own 
accord the symbol or formula of their new faith. 

1. 1 Freedom,' these philosophers had discovered, 
4 is the indefeasible right of Irishmen and Britons, 
derived from the Author of their being, of which no 
power on earth has a right to deprive them.' They 
did not say in what freedom consisted, or where, or 
in what way, God Almighty had bestowed it on them. 
Thev merely insisted on the fact as a preliminary 
article of faith. 

2. c Those only are free,' they went on, 1 who are 
governed by no laws but those to which they assent 
either in person or by their representatives freely 
chosen.' If this was true, minorities who protest 
against laws passed by a majority are either entitled 



to disobey, or they are deprived of what the first 
resolution declared to be their inalienable right. 

3. 1 The elective franchise shall extend to those, 
and those only, who will exercise it for the public 
good.' The elective franchise, by the old laws of 
Europe, belonged to the freemen : to those who in 
some practical department of life had proved their 
competence as masters of their craft. Who, on the 
principles of the Dungannon delegates, could decide on 
the fitness of the electors, or the meaning of the words 
public good ? 

Yet these propositions appeared to the soldier 
statesmen at Dungannon to be axioms which could 
form the basis of a revolution. By the light of them 
they framed a list of reforms which were required in 
the representation. Till these reforms were granted, 
they insisted on a refusal of the supplies by the House 
of Commons ; and to hold the House of Commons to 
its work they concluded to choose delegates from the 
Volunteers of every county in Ireland, who should 
meet and sit in Dublin simultaneously with the Par- 
liament — a second legislative assembly — to guide, and 
if necessary to controul and overawe, the constitutional 

Characteristic as these resolutions were in them- 
selves, they were the more noteworthy from the per- 
sons with whom they originated. The leading spirits 
of the second meeting at Dungannon were Lord 
Charlemont and Lord Farnham, Sir Capel Molyneux, 
Colonel Stewart of Down, 1 the Bishop of Derry, Tom 
Conolly, and Colonel Montgomery. Noblemen and 
gentlemen of high character and station could deli- 

1 Afterwards Marquis of Londonderry, and father of Lord Castle- 



berately recommend the constitution of a military chap. 

convention to meet at the capital, and dictate mea- . £ * 

sures to an unwilling Parliament in the name of the a {7H,i ' 
national army. They could even persuade themselves 
that they were engaged in a sacred service, 1 and they 
closed their proceedings with an appeal to the Supreme 
Ruler of the Universe, and with special thanks to his 
minister, the Bishop of Derry, the steady friend of 

1 They described the convention forms of a free government would 
1 as a solemn act of the Volunteer be a curse, and existence cease to 
army of Ireland to demand rights be a blessing.' 
without which the unanimated 

bb 2 





book Satisfied with the results of his communications with 
the patrons of the Irish boroughs, Lord Nor thin gton 
at first looked at the proceedings at Dungannon with 
no serious alarm ; 1 but he, too, like Temple, consi- 
dered that concession of some kind must still be 
the rule. Annual Parliaments were desired, and, 
he thought, ought to be allowed. An absentee tax 
would be again proposed. This he hoped to defeat, 
but it was important to secure the confidence of Par- 
liament by acquiescence in reasonable demands. The 
Irish sugar refiners persisted in asking for protection, 
and to Northington the choice seemed only to lie be- 
tween moderate duties which would give them a fair' 
profit, and duties so high as to exclude English com- 
petition. The silk and woollen manufacturers also 
asked for protection, and had powerful friends. The 
Viceroy hoped to be allowed to tell Parliament either 
that the Irish duties on English silks and woollens 
would be increased, or that the English duties on Irish 
silks and woollens would be lowered. 2 

These questions had been foreseen in England, and 
ought to have been provided for when the constitution 
of '82 was conceded. Ireland meant to retaliate for 
the restrictive duties, and the covenant of peace was 

1 'A Parliamentary reform is the present constitution of the House 
the grand subject intended to be of Commons in this country is re- 
proposed by the delegation of the ferredto. — The Earl of Northington 
Volunteer corps. There can be little to Lord North, September 23, 1783.' 
Toom for apprehension with regard S. P. 0. 
to the fate of this question when 2 Ibid. 



to bear immediate fruits in fresh quarrels. Nor was chap. 

an armed convention so light a thing as it appeared to 

Lord Northington. Mr. Fox, when he agreed re- ^J^Sl 
luctantly to let Grattan have his way, had determined 
to yield no further, even if the alternative was the 
abandonment of the island. 

In the prolonged existence of an armed force inter- 
fering with the Legislature, and owing no obedience 
to the executive government, he saw an anomaly 
pregnant with danger. 

1 The situation,' he said, 4 in an elaborate and admi- 
rable letter to the Viceroy, 4 is most critical. Unless 
the Volunteers dissolve in a reasonable time, Govern- 
ment, and even the name of it, must be at an end, and 
on the event of the present session of your Parliament 
the question will entirely depend. If you show 
firmness, and that firmness is seconded by the aris- 
tocracy and Parliament, their dissolution is a certain 
and not distant event ; otherwise I reckon their go- 
vernment, or rather anarchy, as firmly established as 
such a thing is capable of being, but your govern- 
ment is certainly annihilated. I mean by firmness 
the determination not to be swayed in the slightest 
degree by the Volunteers, nor to attend to any petition 
that may come from them. The concessions made in 
the Duke of Portland's time were declared sufficient. 
The account must be considered as closed, and must 
never again be opened on any pretence whatever. The 
firmness of the aristocracy will depend on the degree 
of it shown in the Castle. Peace is the natural pe- 
riod of Volunteers. If they are encouraged to enlist 
after this time, all is gone, and our connection with 
Ireland is worse than none at all. The Volunteers 
never were, depend upon it, so considerable as they 



book were represented. If they are resisted, I am satisfied 
_\ IL - they will be defeated. If they are suffered to carry 
ovemb'-r tne i r points by timidity or acquiescence, it is as much 
over with English government in Ireland as if they 
had carried them by force. Ireland has more to fear 
from us than we from her. Her linen trade, which is 
her staple, depends entirely on the protection of this 
country. We cannot go on acquiescing in something 
new for the sake of pleasing Ireland. But, situated 
as you are among Irishmen — who, next to a job for 
themselves, love nothing so well as a job for their 
country — and hardly ever seeing anyone who talks to 
you soundly on our side of the question, it is next to 
impossible but that you must fall insensibly into Irish 
ideas.' 1 

The regular force in Ireland had been quietly 
restored to its normal complement. As there might 
be occasion for its service, Fox wrote at the same time 
to General Burgoyne, who was in command. 

1 If,' he said, ' either the Parliamentary reform in 
any shape, however modified, or any other point 
claimed by the Volunteers be conceded, Ireland is irre- 
trievably lost for ever. The question is whether the 
constitution which the Irish patriots are so proud of 
having established shall exist, or whether the Govern- 
ment shall be as purely military as it was under the 
Praetorian bands. If the Volunteers are baffled they 
must, in the nature of things, dissolve, or bring it to 
an immediate crisis, on the event of which, supposing 
Parliament to be silent, I do not believe you can en- 
tertain a serious apprehension. If they petition in the 
most humble strain it should make no difference. 

1 ' Mr. Fox to Lord Northiugton, November 1.' — Abridged. Life of 
Grattan, vol. iii. p. 106. 



There can be but one measure either for dignity or chap. 
safety, and that measure, from Sergeant Adair's re- Al- 
ports, I am now led to hope could be taken. I mean a qJ^ t 
declaration against taking into consideration the re- 
quest of persons met in arms in Dublin for the avowed 
purpose of obtaining their ends by force. It is a crisis, 
you may depend upon it. I believe that a proper 
spirit exerted now is the only possible chance of sav- 
ing us from total separation or civil war, between 
which two evils I have not the firmness to choose/ 1 
In 1780 free trade was to have bound the two 
countries together for ever. In 1782 it was to be 
the repeal of the 6th of George I. and the new consti- 
tution. Now, when the ink was scarcely dry upon the 
parchment on which the Acts of Liberation had been 
enrolled, England and Ireland were further apart than 
before. The Irish Parliament had met before Fox's October 
letter was written. The Viceroy had opened the 
session with a speech which saidnothing. The address 
was carried without opposition, and also a vote of 
thanks to the Volunteers, whose convention was still 
three weeks distant. The stillness was not of very long 
duration. The question, had to be tried in the new 
House of Commons which of the two competing cham- 
pions for popular favour was the recognised leader of 
Irish patriotism. On the 28th Sir Henry Cavendish 
moved a resolution for a reduction of expenditure. 
Flood, whose mysterious mission to England had led 
to nothing, sprung to the front, and violently advo- 
cated a diminution of the military establishment. The 
meaning was obvious. A collision was possible be- 
tween the Volunteers and the regular army. There 

1 ' Mr. Fox to General Burgoyne, November 7." — Abridged. Life of 
Grattan, vol. iii. 



book were now 12,000 British troops in the island, and 
_ . , IL ^ the Government might rely upon them to resist the 
October, dictation intended to be exercised. 

Fox and Portland depended on Grattan to support 
them in their present difficulty. They had stood by 
him in his early struggles with Lord North. They 
had received distinct assurances from him that the 
concessions of '82 should not be followed by fresh 
demands, and had made themselves responsible to the 
British Parliament that Ireland would be satisfied. 
They expected him to assist them in resisting an 
alarming proposal pressed unconstitutionally by a body 
of men who had discovered their power, and were 
prepared to abuse it. Grattan knew their feelings, 
and recognised his obligations. He had himself 
once encouraged the Volunteers to interfere with Par- 
liament. It was on him that the duty rested of now 
bringing their presumption within bounds. He was 
himself an ardent reformer ; but, enthusiastic as he 
was, he did not conceal from himself that in a country 
like Ireland a redistribution of political power, pre- 
cipitated by the bayonets of the Volunteers, would 
lead to the wildest confusion. In spite of his good 
nature, he had resented the attempt of Flood to steal 
from him the laurels of the last campaign. He dis- 
trusted his rival's honesty. He did not respect his 

Flood, whose manner was affected, had commenced 
his speech on the reduction of the army with an apo- 
logy for an illness which did not appear to be serious. 
Grattan rose after him to oppose this motion. He 
would not occupy the time of the House, he said, 
with speaking of his personal infirmities. He reminded 
Flood that when he accepted office under Lord Har- 



court, he had supported him in unbounded extrava- chap. 
gance. At a time when England had acted justly — ^ — 
and even generously towards Ireland, when she was No *efbei 
still feeling the wounds of the late war, and com- 
forting herself with the belief that she had secured 
Ireland's friendship, he thought it inopportune, unbe- 
coming, ungracious, to press upon her retrenchments 
in the army. 

Grattan's conduct was signally creditable to him, 
for it was certain to be unpopular. Flood saw his 
advantage. Now was the time to make himself first 
in the affection of the Volunteers. 

' It requires but little candour,' he said, ' to make a 
nocturnal attack on my infirmity. I am not afraid 
of the right honourable gentleman. I will meet him 
anywhere on any ground, by night or day. I would 
stand poorly in my own estimation and in my coun- 
try's opinion if I did not stand far above him. I do 
not come dressed in a rich wardrobe of words to de- 
lude the people. I am not one who, after saying Par- 
liament was a Parliament of prostitutes, made their 
voices subservient to my interest. I am not the men- 
dicant patriot who was bought by my country for a 
sum of money, and then sold my country for prompt 
payment. I was never bought by the people, nor 
ever sold them. Give me leave to say if the gentle- 
man enters often into this kind of colloquy he will 
not have much to boast of at the end of the session.' 

The Speaker did not interfere with this harangue. 
The cries of c Order ! ' if such cries were raised, were 
drowned in the applause of the little band who had 
resented the elevation of Grattan above their own 
idol. Flood, who had sued for the Castle livery, 
even under Lord Townshend ; Flood, who had 



book whined to Lord Harcourt that he had parted with 
- ^ n '-^ his popularity to please him ; Flood, whose vanity 
178 ;'* was dissatisfied with the best office in the Crown's 


gift, and now at last had only stepped to the front 
of the patriots when he found Portland would not 
be duped into restoring him to his seat in the Privy 
Council ; Flood, of all public men in Ireland, could 
least afford to challenge a retrospect into his poli- 
tical history. Grattan, though his sins were many, 
had not deserved to be taunted with the name of 
mendicant patriot. If Grattan, in his reply, laid on 
the lash too heavily, never was chastisement more 
wantonly provoked. He rose among the cheers of 
his friends in the House, and cheers and gibes 
mingled from the galleries. 

' I will suppose,' he said — affecting at the outset to 
put a hypothetical case, but speedily dropping the 
effort and speaking directly at his antagonist — 4 1 
will suppose a public character, a man not now in 
this House, but who formerly might have been. I 
will suppose it was his constant practice to abuse 
any man who differed from him, and to betray every 
man who trusted him. I will begin from his cradle, 
and divide his life into three stages. In the first he 
was intemperate, in the second corrupt, in the third 
seditious. Suppose him a great egotist, his honour 
equal to his oath, and I will stop him and say 
(here looking full at Flood) Sir, your talents are not 
so great as your life is infamous. You were silent 
for years, and you were silent for money. When 
affairs of consequence to the nation were debating, 
you might be seen passing by these doors like a 
guilty spirit waiting for the moment of putting the 
question that you might hop in, and give your venal 



vote ; or at times, with a vulgar brogue, aping the chap. 
manners and affecting the infirmities of Lord Chat- 
ham, or like a kettledrummer lathering yourself into N ' ' 
popularity to catch the vulgar. Or you might be 
seen hovering over the dome like an ill-omened 
bird of night, with sepulchral note, a cadaverous 
aspect, and broken beak, ready to stoop and pounce 
upon your prey. You can be trusted by no man. 
The people cannot trust you. The Ministers can- 
not trust you. You deal out the most impartial 
treachery to both. You tell the nation it is ruined 
by other men, while it is sold by you. You fled 
from the embargo ; you fled from the sugar bill. 
I therefore tell you, in the face of the country, before 
all the world, and to your beard, you are not an 
honest man.' 

Those who have witnessed an Irish row in its 
wildest form may imagine the scene which followed. 
Floor and galleries were full, and every Irishman 
was on fire. Flood sate for a moment, as if stunned. 
He rose at last, stared about him, and stammered a 
few words which were lost in the tempest of noise. 
The Speaker, finally compelling some kind of silence, 
said that he had listened to the contest between two 
such distinguished men with inexpressible pain, and 
entreated Flood to sit down. Flood obeyed, and pre- 
sently walked out. Grattan followed. Each consulted 
their friends, and a duel was arranged for the next 
morning. The Sergeant-at-Arms took them both into 
custody, and they were bound over to keep the peace. 
The storm, as brief as it was furious, died away; but 
a Parliament in which two leading members could 
rate each other like fishwomen was unlikely to com- 
mand authority in Ireland, or confidence in the sister 



book The Cabinet had insisted that the Volunteer con- 
- VH '->- vention should be encountered with firmness. They 
ovember. na( l even recommended that it should be prevented 
from meeting by force, if nothing else would serve. 
Lord Northington was a coward, and he had cowards 
all about him. The Volunteers had been twice 
thanked by the House of Commons as saviours of 
their country ; they had been courted by Temple 
and flattered by Colonel Fitzpatrick. Not one mem- 
ber of the Privy Council could be found 4 to advocate 
the idea of Government interfering to forbid the 
meeting.' 1 

On the 10th of November Dublin was to witness 
the presence of two rival representative assemblies, 
sitting one on each side of the river, and dividing 
between them the allegiance of Ireland. Every pro- 
vince had responded to the invitation to send deputies. 
Three hundred members had been chosen to match 
the number of the House of Commons, the moving 
spirit among them being the Bishop of Derry, other- 
wise known as Earl of Bristol, who had received 
the thanks of the Volunteers at Dungannon. 

Frederick Augustus Hervey was the most singular 
representative of the class of bishops who had been 
chosen to preside over the spiritual destinies of the 
Irish people. He had been appointed during the 
short viceroyalty of his brother, and as long as the 

1 < The Earl of Northington to Mr. Fox, November 17, 1783.' 



late earl lived he had been known only as an eccen- chap. 
trie person of unepiscopal habits, who had built a - L 
vast palace in a wild corner of his diocese. The earl v 17s 1 
dying childless, the bishop succeeded to the title 
and a large fortune, and rather from love of excite- 
ment and vanity than from personal interest in Ire- 
land, he assumed the character of a warlike prelate 
of the Middle Ages. 

He was connected with the wildest blood in the 
country. George Robert Fitzgerald, of Turlow, near 
Castlebar, notorious, even in those reckless days, for 
his defiance of all laws, human and divine, was his 
sister's son, and commanded a regiment of Volunteers 
whom the bishop had raised, with a second regiment 
whom he had collected himself out of his vagabond de- 
pendents at Turlow. George Robert had ruled as ab- 
solutely among the bogs and mountains of Mayo as 
the Mac Williams of the days of Elizabeth and James. 
Like many of his countrymen who essentially re- 
sembled him, he showed little in his exterior of the 
real man. He was refined in manner, and soft 
and smooth of speech. He had travelled, and had 
rivalled Beauchamp Bagenal in the variety of his 
exploits and adventures ; and he was so often in 
scrapes, from which only sword or pistol could extri- 
cate him, that he wore a chain-shirt under his 
clothes. 1 He had inherited his temper in his blood. 

1 Dick Martin was counsel for healthy. You take good care of 
the prosecution when George Ro- your constitution ; but, I tell you, 
bert was tried for ill-treating his you have this day taken very bad 
father. Dick said the wretched care of your life.' A duel followed, 
father had indeed committed many Fitzgerald's first shot missed. Mar- 
crimes, the worst of them being tin, to make sure of his man, 
that he had begotten the prisoner. walked up, and touched his breast 
George Robert glanced at him. with his pistol before he fired. 
' Martin ! ' he said, 1 you look very Fitzgerald staggered, from the 



book His father had been a lawless ruffian. George Robert, 

• r— ' thinking the father lived too long, shut him up for 

November, three years in a cave with a muzzled bear, and in 
this condition the old man was lying at the time of 
the Dublin convention. 1 

These two — the bishop and his nephew— were the 
principal figures in the scene. When the day came 
the whole city was out ; the footways lined with 
armed Volunteers, the windows crowded with spec- 
tators. The Royal Exchange had been first thought 
of as the place of assembly. The Rotunda, at the 
top of Sackville Street, was substituted for the Ex- 
change, as more central and convenient. Thither 
were streaming the deputies in uniform, the streets 
all ablaze with scarlet and green and gold and azure. 
Grenadier corps marched first, with Irish battle- 
axes and muskets slung across their shoulders. 
Behind the grenadiers came the delegates, two and 
two, in uniform, with side-arms, each wearing a 
green scarf. Then the barrister corps, brilliantly 
decked out with buttons, carrying for a motto, ' Yox 
populi suprema lex.' In the rear came Napper 
Tandy, with the Dublin artillery, the guns dressed 
out in ribands, each with a scroll about its muzzle, 
saying in conspicuous letters, i Open thou our mouths, 
oh Lord, and our lips shall show forth thy praise.' 
The bishop himself entered Dublin with the state and 
manner of a monarch, as if he expected to be chosen 

force of the blow ; but, to Mar- imprisonment for some crime. The 
tin's astonishment, turned round, Marquis of Buckinghamshire par- 
drew his second pistol, fired at, and doned him, after a few months' de- 
hit him. The chain-shirt had tention. He went down to Turlow, 
stopped the ball. and immediately afterwards mur- 
1 George Robert was hanged a dered one of his own people. For 
few years after at Castlebar. He this offence he was tried, convicted, 
had been sentenced to three years' and finally hanged. 



King of Ireland. He sate in an open landau, chap. 

drawn by six horses, magnificently apparelled in . I: 

purple, with white gloves, gold-fringed, and gold v 1 ' 8 ?' 
tassels dangling from them, and buckles of diamonds 
on knee and shoe. His own mounted servants, in 
gorgeous liveries, attended on either side of his car- 
riage. George Robert rode in front, with a squadron 
of dragoons in gold and scarlet uniforms, on the finest 
horses which could be bought in the land. A second 
squadron brought up the rear in equal splendour, 
and thus, with slow and regal pace, the procession 
passed on, Volunteers falling in, with bands playing 
and colours flying, the crowd shouting ' Long life to 
the bishop ! ' the bishop bowing to the crowd. 

Passing through College Green, the right reverend 
earl paused at the door of the Parliament House. 
The dragoons halted. The trumpets were blown. 
The Lords and Commons, who had just finished 
prayers, came out to pay their respects, and gaze on 
the extraordinary scene. The bishop saluted ; the 
bishop's guard presented arms ; the band struck 
up the Volunteers' march, and having thus, as he 
supposed, produced a proper impression, the august 
being waved his hand. The horses again moved; the 
cavalcade swept on, amidst screams and shouts, past 
King William's statue, over the river, and up the 
broad line of Sackville Street. As the carriage ap- 
proached the Rotunda, the artillery opened, and be- 
tween the guns pealed wild hurrahs ; the delegates 
were entering the hall. The bishop passed in after 
them, to show himself, scattered condescending smiles 
and patronizing words of encouragement, and then 
retiring, to give them an opportunity of electing him, 
as he expected, to the chair, drove to his house, with 



book the same state, to entertain the leading members of 


the assembly at a magnificent dinner. 

November Lord Northington meanwhile had not been idle. 

Though afraid to encounter the Volunteers with open 
resistance, he had known how to sow divisions among 
them, and they had come together predisposed to 
quarrel on elementary principles. All the delegates 
were for reform, all were members of the Estab- 
lished Church ; and among churchmen at least a 
moiety were determined Protestants. The Bishop of 
Derry and the extreme party were for Catholic eman- 
cipation and separation from England. Lord Charle- 
mont and the country gentlemen who acted with him, 
though enthusiastic for 1782, and anxious for a more 
creditable Parliament, were not disposed to place 
themselves at the mercy of a numerical majority of 
Papists, or to run the risk of a repeal of the Act of 
Settlement. Both the Viceroy and Burgoyne had 
preferred diplomacy to force. They had discovered 
the line of division, and had judiciously operated on 
it ; and thus when, on the bishop's departure, the 
election of chairman came on, the choice was found 
to have fallen, not on the right reverend English 
nobleman, but on Lord Charlemont. Successful so 
far, the Viceroy still feared that if the Catholic mil- 
lions were roused to demand the suffrage, or if they 
were ever supposed to be anxious to obtain it, a 
majority in the Convention might yet press it upon 
Parliament; and he ventured on a manoeuvre highly 
characteristic of his cunning, feeble nature. ' My 
plan/ he said, 4 was, by means of our friends in the 
assembly, to perplex its proceedings and create con- 
fusion.' Sir Boyle Roche, one of the delegates, a 
light, absurd person, declared in the convention on 



the second day of the meeting, that he was commis- chap. 

sioned by Lord Kenmare to say that the Catholics - l~ 

did not wish to press their claims to the franchise, v ?' 
and disavowed a desire for an immediate alteration 
in then- position. The support of the Catholics was 
vital to the success of the party of revolution. Sir 
Boyle's statement was received with confusion and 
astonishment. The Catholic committee in Dublin 
protested that he was not speaking for them. 4 They 
did not differ so widely from the rest of mankind as 
by their own act to prevent the removal of their 
shackles.' The Bishop of Deny, their chief advo- 
cate and champion, was loud and fierce in his denials. 
A day or two later there came a letter from Lord 
Kenmare himself, declaring with equal distinctness 
that he had given no authority for the use of his name. 

Sir Boyle being called on to explain, gave a simple 
account of his performances. He had observed with 
concern, he said, the court paid to the Catholics by a 
knot of factious politicians. They had been led to 
believe that the resolutions of the Convention were 
to be law, and that its first act was to be Catholic 
emancipation. He conceived the time had come when 
Lord Kenmare and the more respectable members of 
the Catholic communion should disavow these violent 
counsels. They were in the country, and could not 
be consulted; and supposing himself to be acquainted 
with their views, he had ventured to speak in their 

Though he assumed the responsibility, there can 
be little doubt that he acted at the instigation of 
the Viceroy ; and Northington may have felt jus- 
tified by the deferential tone invariably adopted to- 
wards the Castle by the Catholic nobility. In any 

VOL. II. c c 



book other country such an extraordinary piece of auda- 
_1^L^ city might have had fatal consequences. In Ireland, 
178 ?* strange to say, it succeeded. In the interval of un- 

ovember. © J ' 

certainty the Anti-Catholic party in the Convention 
had time to organize themselves. The exposure 
came too late. A committee was chosen to draw up 
the intended Eeform Bill. The Bishop of Derry was 
excluded from it. Flood, who, with all his violence, 
was still opposed to the Catholic claims, affected ill- 
ness, appeared, when forced to come forward, swathed 
in flannels, and talked mysteriously in broken sen- 
tences. The cry of the Church in danger was still 
powerful, even among the hot spirits in the Rotunda ; 
and as the Reform Bill took shape, it became known 
that the admission of the Catholics to the franchise 
was not to form part of the scheme. 

The danger was not over, however. Beyond the 
Convention, there was still the Dublin mob. c The 
country was full of disorder, madness, and inconsis- 
tency.' 1 The city swarmed with enthusiastic politi- 
cians, who unfortunately had muskets and cannon. 
The storm outside, if it raged with sufficient violence, 
might yet carry the Convention off its feet, and the 
Parliament was hesitating and frightened. George 
Robert Fitzgerald gave Convention banquets. The 
Bishop of Derry rode abroad daily with his escort of 
dragoons amidst adoring crowds. He called one day 
on Lord Charlemont at Marino. 2 f Things are going 
well, my Lord,' he said, rubbing his hands. 4 We 
shall have blood, my Lord, we shall have blood ! ' 
George Robert tried hard to gain Grattan. Finding 
Grattan cold, he invited him to dinner, and placed a 
band of ruffians in ambush to make short work of 

1 1 The Earl of Nortliington to 2 Lord Charlemont's villa out- 
Fox, November 17.' side Dublin. 



him. Grattan saved himself by dining that evening CHAP, 
at the Castle. s. — b — 
At length the crisis came. The Convention com- N ,,V.^'; 
mittee produced its bill, which Flood, who, like many 29 « 
other patriot members, had a seat both in the Ro- 
tunda and the House of Commons, was to introduce 
to Parliament. The Irish Constitution was on its 
trial. No matter how limited the present demands 
of the Convention, the principle was at stake. In 
which of the two assemblies now sitting in Dublin 
lay the real power of legislating for Ireland? Flood 
was now at the height of his glory. In him, and 
no longer in Grattan, were centred the hopes of Ire- 
land's patriots. On the 29th of November he rose to 
discharge his task. The galleries were crowded with 
the fiercest of the mob. Dangerous-looking groups of 
ruffians lounged about the doors. Conscious of the 
danger of scattering fire in the midst of such com- 
bustible material, Flood was in manner studiously 
quiet, and the matter of what he proposed was mode- 
rate. The franchise in city or borough was to be 
confined to Protestant freeholders and leaseholders. 
The close boroughs, whose representatives were at 
present returned by the Corporations, were to be 
abolished; and members were to swear, on taking 
their seats, that they had used no corrupt means 
to obtain them. Colonel Brownlow seconded the 
motion, and then Yelverton, who was now Attorney- 
General, rose for the Government. 

No suspicion could rest on the patriotism of Yel- 
verton, who had carried the modifications of Poyn- 
ings' Act. He refused to enter into the merits of the 
Bill. It Avas sufficient for him that it originated 
with a body of armed men external to the House. 

c c 2 



book 4 We sit not here/ he said, ' to register the edicts 
.. V ? 1 ' -* of another Assembly, or receive propositions at the 
ovember P om t of the bayonet. When the Volunteers form 
29 - themselves into a debating society, and with that 
rude instrument, the bayonet, probe and explore the 
Constitution, my respect for them is destroyed. It 
is vain, whatever be pretended, to shut our eyes to 
what every one has seen and heard — armed men 
walking bareheaded through the streets under a 
military escort, courting the smiles of the multitude, 
meeting in that Pantheon of divinities the Eotunda, 
forming committees and sub-committees, receiving 
reports and petitions, and going through the mockery 
of a Parliament. ... Is this a time to alter the 
Constitution ? Will the armed associations, wise as 
they may be, be able to form a better ? Before they 
have for a single Session entered on the enjoyment of 
it, like children they throw away the bauble for which, 
with the eagerness of infantine caprice, they have 
struggled. I say to the Volunteers, you shall not 
throw from you the blessings which you possess. 
Cultivate your prosperity. Enjoy the fruits of your 
virtue. Beat your swords into ploughshares. Return 
to your occupations. Leave legislation in those 
hands in which the laws have placed it. . . . Our 
preservation depends on the vote we shall now 
give. We are on a precipice. To recede a step 
more plunges us into ruin.' 

The debate which followed was said to be the 
hottest ever heard within the walls of the Irish 
House of Commons. Hely Hutchinson, Scott, 
Conolly, William Ponsonby, Bowes Daly, and Sir 
John Parnell spoke for the Government. Grattan, 
notwithstanding George Robert's designs on him, 



and though he was supporting Flood, remained true chap. 
to his general principles. He approved of Keform, < — — - 
and he said so. Curran, who had just entered Par- No ^ber 
liament, and sate with Flood for the borough of 20 - 
Kilbeggan, 1 made his maiden speech on the same side. 
He said little ; but that little was clear, and to the 
purpose. Flood declared that 4 the honour of the 
peerage might be obtained by any ruffian who 
possessed borough interest.' Bowes Daly told the 
Volunteers in rejoinder that they were rushing on 
destruction. ' There was a turbulent demagogue 
among them who was urging them to their disgrace.' 
As the storm raved louder, passion grew more care- 
less in its language, and at last Flood exclaimed, 
that 4 if the conduct of the House that night should 
create dissatisfaction in the Volunteers, that body 
and the Parliament miffht be committed against each 
other, and the public peace be disturbed.' 

Here at last was a threat, and now Fitzgibbon rose 
to show for the, first time of what stuff he was made. 
Once already he had startled the propriety of the 
House by moving, when they were flattering the 
Volunteers, for the production of a censure which 
had been passed upon that body but a few months 
before. He had withdrawn his motion, and they had 
forgotten him. They were not likely to forget him 
any more. 

He was a small, delicately -made man, with a hand- 
some oval face, a bold grey eye, a manner so haughty 
that patriot members complained of his intolerable 
insolence. His father's death left him in possession 
of the estate in Limerick, with seven thousand a 

1 Nearly all the patriots in the roughs — so opposite was fact to 
Irish Parliament sate for close bo- theory. 




book year, independent of his practice at the bar. He 
was the most just, as well as the most determined, of 
landlords ; and he was loved and trusted by his 
tenants as profoundly as he was afterwards hated by 
demagogues and agitators. His speech in this memo- 
rable debate was a declaration of purpose, an intima- 
tion clearly expressed to friend and foe of the part 
which he meant to play in the politics of Ireland. His 
father had trained him in an honourable contempt for 
the devices by which the Castle authority had been 
sustained. 1 He had supported the popular cause 
against England when he considered Ireland was ask- 
ing her due, careless what Viceroys thought of him. 
He had fought on the other side against extravagant 
demands, indifferent to the clamours of the patriots. 
He had sought for no preferment. Preferment was 
now seeking him. He was already named for Attorney- 
General on the approaching promotion of Yelverton to 
the place of Chief Baron, but he maintained his per- 
sonal independence, and neither spoke nor voted but 
according to his own conviction. He rose at the close 
of the debate, and began by sketching the origin of 
the Reform movement, tracing it to a democratic 
society in England, and thence to corresponding asso- 
ciations at Belfast. He alluded to the first resolu- 
tions at Dungannon, and pointed to the Rotunda 
convention as the result of having submitted to the 
Volunteers' dictation. Then, coming to the point, 
he said — 

4 I do not oppose the introduction of this Bill 
because it is replete with absurdities. I oppose it 

1 Old Fitzgibbon once said of 
the Pension List, ' I have read 
that the wages of sin is death. 

Now-a-days the wages of sin is 



because it comes to us under the mandate of a chap. 
military congress. Gentlemen say it is dangerous to ]' „ 
commit the Parliament and the Volunteers. I know ~ 178 f * 


it is dangerous. I know the man that does it should 29. 
answer for the crime with his head. But I know the 
force of the law is sufficient to crush them to atoms; 
and for one, I say, I do not think life worth having 
at the will of an armed demagogue. If ever there 
was an occasion that called on every man possess- 
ing one sentiment of liberty to exert it in defence of 
the Constitution, it is this, it is the present, which 
calls on us to spurn this Bill away. There is a cir- 
cumstance of idle babble gone forth which only 
could have issued from the cells of Bedlam — that if 
this Bill is rejected some wretched fool will refuse to 
pay taxes. I have also heard that a House of Par- 
liament is to be built at Dungannon, and that we are 
to have annual sessions of conventions to regulate 
the business of the nation. Gentlemen may call this 
liberty if they please. I call it the worst kind of 
tyranny. To put an end to it at once, I am for reject- 
ing the motion for leave to introduce a Bill.' 

Yelverton had spoken with dignity. Fitzgibbon 
spoke in a tone peculiar, and perhaps unexampled, in 
the country to which he belonged. There had grown 
out of the Irish race by some freak of nature a man 
who had no personal object of his own which he 
wished to serve, who detested anarchy, who despised 
as well as detested the cant which passed under the 
name of patriotism, who combined with high intel- 
lectual power the most dauntless personal courage. 

Well Fitzgibbon knew that Irish sedition would 
never forgive his words. Amidst yells and sarcasms 
from House and gallery the division was taken, and 


book leave to introduce the Bill was refused by a majority 
1 * L . , of two to one. 1 

1/83. Following up his success, as a further lesson to the 

November. or i 

Prastorians at the Kotunda, Yelverton then moved 
f that it is now necessary to declare that this House 
will maintain its rights and privileges against all 
encroachments.' This, too, was carried by an equally 
large majority, and at once the danger was over. As 
invariably happens in Ireland, the spectre of rebel- 
lion has but to be boldly confronted to fade and dis- 
appear. General Burgoyne had taken precautions 
to preserve the peace of the city. The Volunteers 
did not care to measure strength with him. 

The Convention had remained in session till the 
result of the first division was known. It was a 
Saturday night. Lord Charleraont, who was in the 
chair, moved that they should adjourn till Monday. 
On Monday morning the delegates reassembled, and 
a Captain Moore rose to complain of the insults 
which had been passed upon them by Fitzgibbon. 
Lord Charlemont at once flattered the assembly and 
stopped the discussion by telling Moore he was out 
of order in alluding to what had passed in another 
place. At the Bishop of Derry's request, Flood then 
described the reception and the fate of their Bill in 
the House of Commons. Earnestly deprecating vio- 
lence, he proposed that there should be an address 
from the Irish nation to the King, which he offered 
himself to present; and then mildly and innocently 
the great Convention, ushered into existence amidst 
the thunders of cannon to command the destinies of 
Ireland, adjourned sine die and closed its vainglorious 

1 157 to 77. 



The Bishop of Derry only was unable to sit down chap 

under his defeat. Delivered from irresolute compa- 
nions, and now unchallenged chief of the Volunteers, 
4 the Bishop,' it was said, 4 rose like a phoenix out of 
the ashes of the Convention.' This absurd being still 
clung to the dream of a separate Ireland of which he 
was to be King, and his admirers in the North fooled 
him to the top of his bent. On his return to Ulster 
'the Bill of Rights Battalion ' presented him with an 
address under arms. They said they had seen with 
indignation the treatment of their delegates. 4 They 
hoped still, under the auspices of his lordship, to cleanse 
the Augean stable, those noisome stalls of venality and 
corruption in Parliament.' The Bishop replied that 
6 the spirit of freedom, like a Promethean fire, was now 
animating the lifeless mass of Irishmen.' He appealed 
to the Catholics. He appealed to the Americanised 
Presbyterians. 4 These respectable citizens,' he said, 
\ were far more numerous than their oppressors.' 4 They 
had crouched hitherto under the iron rod from a dread 
of wounding their country through the side of their 
tyrants.' 4 Gentlemen of the Bill of Rights Batta- 
lion,' he concluded, 4 1 summon you to consistency. 
Tyranny is not Government, and allegiance is due only 
to protection.' 

The Battalion swore they would support their Con- 
stitution, or be buried under its ruins. Last, strangest, 
and most grotesque feature in the history of the Irish 
Volunteers ! The emancipators of their country chose 
for their favourite leader a British Earl and a Bishop 
of the Irish Established Church. 







B vii K ^ HE sna dowy giant of the Convention having faded 
^y^p into vapour, the Parliament, relieved of its presence, 
December, proceeded with its ordinary work. In December 
Mr. Molyneux moved once more the threatened Ab- 
sentee Tax of four shillings in the pound on all 
rents remitted out of the kingdom to non-resident 
landowners. A free Irish Legislature, alive to the 
real causes of Ireland's misfortunes, would have wel- 
comed a measure which had been almost carried in 
the days of its bondage. In the pursuit of imaginary 
triumphs her politicians had lost the power of recog- 
nizing their real foe. Northington had doubtless 
been at work under the surface. There was a cry 
that such a tax would lower the value of lands — that 
it would divide the countries now so happily united. 
Sir John Blaquiere reminded the House of the cir- 
cumstances under which an Absentee Tax had been 
proposed when he was himself Secretary. ' Every 
voice had been at first in its favour. He went him- 
self to England to solicit it as a boon from Lord 
North's Cabinet. He urged his suit indecently, he 
said, and with unbecoming importunity, and had 
wrung from his chiefs a reluctant consent. He re- 
turned full of joy to propose it as a Government 
measure, and the gentlemen who had been so eager 
turned their backs on him. He had divided in a 
minority of 14/ 

It appeared that the Constitution of '82 had recon- 
ciled the patriots to this their deepest grievance. 



The minority of 14 became now a minority of 162. chap. 
The House divided against Molyneux, and in 1783 ■ — ^ — 
the Absentee Tax was rejected by 184 votes to 22. Decemba 

The autumn session wound up with the passing of 
the Supply Bills. The Coalition Ministry in Eng- 
land was dissolved, and Pitt came to the helm to com- 
pose the crisis which had been provoked by the Ame- 
rican disaster. Northington, who had made himself 
popular in Ireland, was invited to remain, but de- 
clined, and the young Duke of Rutland, then only 
29 years old, who died too soon to display qualities 
in a larger sphere which might have given him a 
place in the history of the empire, came over to serve 
his political apprenticeship as Lord-Lieutenant of 
Ireland. The excitement of '82 was over. The 
Convention had alarmed the timidity and disgusted 
the intelligence of the higher classes, and with the 
Duke, 4 the enemies of Irish liberty,' as they are 
termed in patriotic histories, came back into power. 
Yelverton 1 was made Chief Baron and Lord Avon- 
more. Scott became Chief Justice and Earl of 
Clonmel. Fitzgibbon as Attorney-General was the 
ruling spirit in the practical Administration. The 
revenue was still short of the expenditure. Three 
hundred thousand pounds had been borrowed to meet 
the now constant deficit. A bad harvest and the 
Volunteer insanity had injured trade, and the arti- 
sans of Dublin were out of work, starving and muti- 
nous. The exasperation against British soldiers had 
been aggravated by the failure of the Convention. 
General Luttrell had to inform the House of Com- 
mons that ' there was now practised in Ireland, in the 
18th century, a cruelty that would have astonished 
the barbarians of the 14th— the practice of houghing 





book men for no reason but that they were soldiers, by 


ruffians whose qualities were a strong arm, a sharp 
knife, and a hard heart,' The soldiers had the pas- 
sions of men. It was not yet understood that Ireland 
was to be ruled by conciliation, and that their busi- 
ness was to submit. In some instances they had done 
justice to themselves. So many men of the 49th had 
been hamstrung that the regiment had been ordered 
out of Dublin, for fear they might inflict some frightful 
retribution on the mob who were in league to protect 
their assailants. 

The Duke loitered in London after his appoint- 
ment. The Christmas recess was prolonged, and mem- 
bers anxious to be busy complained of 4 the suspen- 
sion of Irish business on account of a squabble of 
gentlemen in England for places/ The Viceroy came 
at last at the end of February. Complimentary ad- 
dresses were presented by both Houses, not indeed 
without signs of opposition. The Duke of Leinster 
had told Lord. Mornington that he would give no 
support to Mr. Pitt's Administration, but the opposi- 
tion was merely the revival of the traditional system. 
The Viceroy hoped to have conciliated sufficient sup- 
port by announcing that English politics were not to 
affect the conduct of Irish Government. But this 
was not what had been meant at all. He had to 
report ' that Government influence would be reduced 
to nothing unless security could be given by very high 
terms indeed that particular persons should be benefited 
without being liable to disappointment in case of new 
changes of Administration. 1 1 Mr. Orde, 2 who came as 
Secretary, wrote that 1 he was almost distracted with 

1 < The Duke of Rutland to Lord S. P. O. 
Sydney, February 27. Secret.' 2 Created afterwards Lord Bolton. 



the infinite numbers and variety of applicants for chap. 
favour, who had all long stories to tell. The patron- < — 1~ 
age of Ireland would not suffice for one day's short ^ 
allowance, if all who crowded into the ship were to 
be fed.' 1 The hungry applicants were rationed so far 
as the Government resources extended. Those who 
were left out were soothed by promises. The crew 
at last fell into their places, and the vessel was once 
more under way. The Duke was able to mention as 
1 one great cause of confidence the effect of what 
was passing out of doors upon the minds of almost 
every person of property and understanding who 
considered the stake they had to venture, and who 
could not look to any so sure protection as that of 
his majesty's Government.' 2 

The first business which came before Parliament 
was the ' houghing.' Luttrell, himself a soldier, told 
the story. The perpetrators of these atrocious acts 
were protected by the public opinion of their class, 
and had not been brought to justice. He introduced 
and carried a bill, to oblige the barony where such 
a crime had been committed, to provide a pension of 
20/. a year for the maintenance of the disabled sol- 
dier, so long as the criminal remained undetected. 
A second clause provided that, in case of conviction, 
these wretches should be executed within two days 
of their sentence, and should be fed in the interval 
with bread and water. 3 

The phenomenon was repeating itself which has 
appeared with invariable sequence in Irish history. 
The hatred against England was increasing with 

1 'Mr. Orde to , March 3, Sydney, February 27, 1784.' S.P.O. 

1784.' S. P. 0. 3 23, 24 George III. cap. 56. 

2 < The Duke of Rutland to Lord 


book each concession to popular demands, and fresh 

VII • 

- — severity was required to prevent the mischievous 
March consequences of those healing measures, which had 
been represented as the certain grounds of future 
peace and good will. 

The Reform question, though its back was broken, 
was not dead. The Bishop of Deny was still haran- 
guing the Ulster mobs. Flood had carried over and 
presented the address to the King. He had received 
no answer, and was about to try his bill a second 
time in Parliament. It had been rejected in No- 
vember, on the ground that it was forced on the 
House by intimidation. The Convention being dis- 
solved, it could be now received and debated on its 
merits. Flood himself was frightened at the spirit 
which was abroad, and was only anxious to be de- 
cently quit of his responsibilities. Leave was given; 
this time for the introduction of the bill, the Duke 
calculating on being able to defeat it by a heavier ma- 
jority on a second reading than he could have com- 
manded for a refusal of admission. Thus he hoped 
that by moderation ' a question so unpleasant and 
distressing in the present circumstances of the king- 
dom would be more effectually quashed ; and without 
unnecessary irritation to the feelings and prejudices 
of certain persons who stood forward in support of 
the measure/ 1 

The debate, when the second reading came on, was 
long and tedious. The fire had been expended in 
November. There was now only the smouldering 
of damp and ashes. Sir Boyle Roche said that the 
extension of the suffrage to Protestant leaseholders 

1 1 Duke of Rutland to Lord Sydney, March 17. Secret. - ' 



would lead to the expulsion of the Catholic tenantry chap. 
to make room for them. Grattan spoke again for the « — I- — 
principle of reform, and defended the Volunteers. ^.}; 
The discussion dragged on till four in the morning, 
but with the languor attaching to a cause which was 
consciously lost. The division, when it came, 1 was 
decisive of the prospects of the question, so long as 
the present Parliament continued, or was protected 
from intimidation. 

Far away, notwithstanding, was the halcyon period 
which Rutland anticipated. Submission to the Dun- 
gannon resolutions in '82 had been a fatal encourage- 
ment to perseverance in sedition. 

Maddened at the defeat of the bill, which they had 
been taught to regard as the door that opened into 
Paradise, the Dublin populace howled and stormed. 
The Bishop of Derry set himself to raise new corps 
of Volunteers in the North. The Viceroy, at Fitz- 
gibbon's advice, sent down officers in disguise to 
watch him, with a warrant in their pockets should 
an arrest be necessary. 2 But there was a more 
immediate and more serious danger. The Reform 
Bill gone, the patriots struck upon a course more 
certain ' to set Dublin in a flame, and introduced re- 
solutions for the protection of Irish manufactures. 
Free trade they now called a mockery. The people 
were still starving in the streets ; the country was as 
poor as before. Perfidious England, when it gave 
free trade to Ireland, knew well that it was giving 

1 159 to 85. niities, and take a step which may 

2 This singular prelate ran a near occasion any ferment ; but I think 
chance of ending his career on the it essential that an example should 
gallows. ' I shall be much con- be made among the abettors of se- 
cerned,' the Duke wrote, 'to rind dition, if such there be.' — 1 To Lord 
myself obliged to proceed to extre- Sydney, March 17. Secret.' 



book her a useless bauble. Tt was like opening the veins 
J^i— - of a wretch expiring with hunger. There was not 
Iprn' on ^ ne ^ ace °f the earth a race of men so abject as 
the Irish; not the Esquimaux in North America, not 
the Hottentots at the Cape of Good Hope ; and the 
cause was the injustice of the laws. Irish manufac- 
tures required protection, and must have it.' 

Such were the arguments — echoes of the cries 
out of doors — addressed to the Parliament. The Par- 
liament for the present was not convinced, and the 
resolutions were heavily defeated. The vote filled 
the measure of popular indignation. Handbills were 
sent out to rally the friends of Irish liberty. The 
Mayor of Dublin was called on to take measures 
to preserve peace. The Mayor of Dublin, true to 
the traditions of his office, refused. The mob ga- 
thered at the doors of the Parliament House. They 
thronged the passages. They filled the bar and gal- 
lery, and from the gallery they marked unpopular 
members, and threatened them with death. The pa- 
triot newspapers preached assassination. The leading 
articles ' were essays in praise of murder, investigat- 
ing the different means by which it might be perpe- 
trated, preferring the poignard as the most certain 
and least dangerous to the assassin.' 1 Fitzgibbon said 
he had a man arrested who had conspired with others 
4 to kill seven members of the House of Commons, 
he himself having the honour to be one.' The 
murderers were to receive a hundred pounds apiece; 
and it had been agreed that if either of the seven 
who had been named escaped, ' any other of the 
majority who had voted against the protecting duties 

1 Speech of General Luttrell, April 12, 1784.— Irish Debates. 



might be taken instead." 1 Even Grattan admitted chap. 

that the Press teemed dailv with such atrocious mat- - — r — 

t 1784 
ter as would not be suffered in any other country.' April " 

Again the Mayor was called on to arrest the pub- 
lishers and printers of these papers. He complied 
so languidly, and handled the offenders so gently, 
that the Serjeant-at-Arms was sent with a guard 
of soldiers to take them out of his hands. The 
soldiers went to work more roughly than the city 
officials, and the air rung with shrieks of indignant 
patriots for the wrongs of their suffering comrades. 

In the midst of these scenes the unfortunate Con- 
stitution was overtaken by a tragic calamity. The 
reader will remember the battle over the Writs of 
Error and the Irish appeals, and the earnestness 
with w^hich Ireland had insisted on her right to give 
final judgment in her own causes. The value of the 
privilege was to be illustrated in the very first appeal 
which was brought before the Irish House of Lords. 
A large property was at stake. The suit lay between 
a member of the Loftus family and a Mr. Eochford. 
Judgment had been given in the Court of King's 
Bench for Mr. Loftus; but the Judges were divided, 
and the case came on for hearing before the Peers. 
Opinion was so nicely balanced that votes were of 
consequence. Lord Strangford, a clergyman and Dean 
of Deny, who for forty years had been a pensioner 
on the Irish Establishment, conceived that a court of 
justice was like the Legislature, and that a vote in 
one as well as the other was convertible into money. 
He applied to Mr. Rochford in general terms for as- 
sistance in his distressed circumstances. Mr. Rochford 


1 Irish Debates. Ibid. 
D D 



book excusing himself, Lord Strangford wrote again to 
_1^L^ him, saying that he was anxious to make himself 
\prif acquainted with the merits of the pending cause, 
but was unable through poverty to. attend at the 
House. Alluding to his first request for help, he 
said 4 that probably since that time Mr. Rochford's 
rents had been more punctually paid;' and ' he was 
encouraged by that consideration to renew a request 
which might be productive of too many advantages 
to enumerate.' c Two hundred pounds would fix him 
in a most enviable situation. One hundred pounds 
would enable him, by daily appearance, to express 
his gratitude where he flattered himself to see success 
crown the undertaking.' 1 

Rochford forwarded this remarkable production to 
the Chancellor. It was produced and read in the 
House of Lords, and their Lordships may have 
doubted whether they were wholly worthy of the 
boon which Grattan had procured for them. ' A 
general alarm was felt for the safety of property.' 2 
Strangford was ordered to attend at the bar of the 
House, where the Viceroy hoped ' he would be pro- 
ceeded against with the rigour which so notorious an 
act of corruption and dishonour deserved.' Not ap- 
pearing, he was taken into custody by the Black Rod. 
He admitted his letter, though protesting that he had 
meant no harm. The Lords thought otherwise, and 
an Act was passed disabling the miserable old man 
from voting or sitting as a Peer of Parliament thence- 

It was a bad case, and Strangford had sinned in 
being found out. Yet he was but tainted a shade 

1 1 Lord Strangford to Mr. Roch- 2 1 The Duke of Rutland to Lord 
ford, January 10, 1784.' 8. P. 0. Sydney, April 12, 1784.' S. P. 0. 



more deeply than his judges, and in the same series chap. 
of letters which tell the story of his delinquency - 1 
the Duke said that throughout the session the Go- 
yernment had been encountered by a petty embar- 
rassing opposition in the House of Lords ; that the 
meaning of it 4 was to enhance their importance and 
make the Peers' pretensions the first object in the 
distribution of emoluments and honours.' k The Peers, 1 
he wrote in a i most secret' dispatch of the 19th of 
April, 4 under the new Constitution haye more power 
than before. Greater attention, therefore, and more 
expensiye influence will be required if we mean to 
direct its progress in the right way.' 'A share in the 
lucratiye fa yours of Goyernment must be set aside 
for the purpose of gaining attachments in that House, 
as the inyention of mere external allurements will 
no longer maintain the influence which they may for 
the moment acquire.' 

* I must obserye also.' the Duke continued in the 
same letter, 4 upon the scantiness of the proyision 
which is at the disposal of Goyernment for the sup- 
port of an increased and increasing number of claim- 
ants. I must therefore represent the necessity of 
taking some measure as early as possible for the en- 
largement of our means. It will be absolutely 
incumbent on me to endeayour to establish in the 
House of Lords the strongest and most immediate 
connection with a certain number of powerful mem- 
bers who may be at all times looked to. and may be 
depended upon for the fidelity and firmness with 
which they will execute their trust.' 1 

Entering into further details, he said that the 

1 1 To Lord Sydney, April 19, 1784.' S. P. 0. 

D D 2 



B ^ K Duke of Leinster, though still in opposition to Pitt, 
— ^— ' was willing to come to terms. Lord Mornina;ton 1 


April, 'was disposed to take a leading part in favour of 
administration. ' Lord Hillsborough promised well. 
Lord Shannon made 1 fair professions,' which were 
not clogged so far 4 with unreasonable demands in 
favour of his friends and extensive Parliamentary 
connections.' Lord Clifden was willing to support 
Government, 4 but not without a steady view to his 
object — an official establishment for his second son.' 
His brother, the Archbishop of Cashel, acted on the 
same principles, and 4 did not lose sight of the 
Primacy or the See of Dublin.' To meet so many 
pretensions, the Duke wished to create some new 
offices which might be objects of ambition to the 
great Peers — a Presidency of the Council ; a Privy 
Seal, with rank ; a Speakership of the House of Lords, 
distinct from the office of Chancellor — if salaries could 
be found for them without adding new burdens to the 

Passing from Peers to Commoners, the Duke said 
that 4 the Provost, who had always some object in 
view, and whose objects were not generally marked 
with the character of moderation and humility,' desired 
that Mr. Rigby should be induced to retire, and that 
he might have the Mastership of the Rolls. John 
Ponsonby would give his services, 4 provided his 
terms were acceded to.' 4 He demanded the office 
of Secretary of State for life for his son,' 4 a thing 
not to be acquiesced in ; ' but as his influence was 
great, the Duke was disposed to let his son have the 
Post Office, to give a Peerage to his son-in-law, Mr. 

1 Afterwards Marquis Wellesley. 



O'Callaghan, 1 and 'to make some inferior arrange- chap. 

ments to gratify his numerous dependents.' Mr. . 

Loftus, too, might be counted on. ' His views ex- 
tended to a Peerage/ and he had received a promise 
of it on condition of his surrendering his pension. 
This pension, having lost his cause with Mr. Roch- 
ford, 1 he was unwilling to relinquish,' and it would 
be necessary to allow him to keep it. 2 

1 Created Lord Lismore. Sydney, March 26. Most secret.' 

2 < The Duke of Rutland to Lord S. P. 0. 




book To lift the curtain which hides the working of the 
vn. . . 

— - Irish Government is to see the condemnation of it 

' ' written as by a handwriting on the wall. Well 
might Irishmen demand Reform. Never did system 
saturated with corruption need it more. But it did 
not occur to them that if Reform was to be effectual, 
each one of them must begin with a reform of his 
own heart. The Parliament was corrupt because 
Lords and Commons were only influenced by base 
motives. If England had refused to bribe them, 
the same men would have followed their interest 
in other ways, to their own and their country's still 
more fatal injury. So long as they remained un- 
worthy of freedom, the only reform which would have 
benefited them would have been the suspension of 
their powers of self-government. And yet the blame 
did not rest wholly with the Irish. The least heeded 
yet not the least mischievous effect of misgovernment 
is the character which it generates alike in the rulers 
and the ruled. Centuries of injustice and neglect 
had divided the Irish nation into a proletariat, to 
whom law was synonymous with tyranny, and into 
an aristocracy and gentry who, deprived of the 
natural inducements to honourable energy, lived 
only for idle amusement, and used political power 
as a means of recruiting their exchequer. After 
the Revolution of 1688 Ireland was as a garden with 
the soil newly turned, in which England might 
have planted what herbs she pleased. She had let 



the opportunity pass. The native weeds had been chap. 
allowed once more to grow, and in this condition v . ]' , 
Irish politicians, who saw their misery but were too 178 ^ # 
vain to understand its causes, had been enabled by 
circumstances to snatch an instalment of Home Rule. 
In this condition there were but two alternatives 
before the English Cabinet — either to buy the sup- 
port of the aristocracy, who threatened otherwise to 
make government impossible, or else to foil back 
upon the people, to level the old barriers, lay open the 
imposthume, and appeal to a genuine representation 
freely chosen by the popular voice. Let those san- 
guine persons who believe most firmly in the regene- 
rative virtues of ballot-boxes and polling-booths 
reflect calmly on the condition of the country, and 
affirm afterwards, if they can, that the second ex- 
periment ought to have been ventured. A Protestant 
minority owned the soil. The Catholics, from whom 
it had been taken by force, still believed themselves 
to be its rightful possessors. The Protestants were 
split into Churchmen and Dissenters. The Church- 
men had the pride and passion of a long-privileged 
class. The Dissenters were republicans, inflamed by 
injury and kindled into fervour and enthusiasm by 
the successful revolt of America. The inflammable 
temperament of the people led them always to choose 
their leaders among demagogues and incendiaries. 
Over every province were scattered armed regiments 
owning no authority, and possessed with the conviction 
that the sole obstacle to Irish happiness was the con- 
nection with England ; while the entire population, 
whom it was sought to enfranchise, was intoxicated 
with that most dangerous of illusions, that the misery 
of the country was due entirely to political causes, 



book and was deliberately caused by the persevering malice 
— of their rulers. 

1 HQ A 

To have let loose the torrent must have precipi- 
tated a furious revolution. To maintain order and 
authority by existing methods was to lend the coun- 
tenance of the Crown to corruption of which the 
reality was probably worse than even the imagination 
of the patriots could conceive; and that the choice 
now lay between two courses alike if not equally de- 
testable was a disgrace to the superior country, whose 
neglect was the cause of the condition into which the 
Irish colony had fallen. England, of course, selected 
to drag on through the slough till circumstances 
might open some third way of escape. Corruption, 
however, was employed thenceforward, not to bolster 
up iniquitous laws, or resist measures which pro- 
mised real advantage, but to bribe the Irish gentry 
to save their country from being dissolved in 
anarchy. Wrought as they had been by the Conven- 
tion into wild expectation, the mob, in Dublin espe- 
cially, were savage in their disappointment. The 
presence of a British garrison alone prevented in- 
surrection. Parliament was prorogued prematurely 
to leave the executive free, and the executive needed 
all its courage for the work which it had to do. The 
distress in the city was real and frightful. Fifty 
thousand artizans were out of work and starving, and 
were taught to believe that the cause was the refusal 
of the protection duties. The Act of Parliament and 
the threat of military law stopped the houghing of the 
soldiers, but other forms of outrage took its place, 
copied from a Transatlantic pattern. A tarring 
and feathering committee was established in Dublin, 
obnoxious citizens were dragged from their beds, 



stripped naked, smeared with pitch, and rolled in chaj 
goose-down, and so turned into the streets. The « — ,1— . 
Press, which had been checked for the moment by Vi ?.'' 
the prosecutions, became as violent as before, and the 
Government discovered as a fresh and still more 
alarming symptom ; that most of the abominable let- 
ters and paragraphs were written by Popish priests. 7 
The Catholic Bishops were ' most earnest to express 
and manifest their reprobation of such excesses/ and 
offered assistance in detecting and convicting the 
writers. 1 Their service was accepted gladly, but little 
came of it. The Corporation was governed by Napper 
Tandy, who continued at the head of the Volunteer 
artillery, and had possession of their guns. The 
magistrates were cowardly, or themselves sympathised 
with the agitators. Eeilly, the High Sheriff of Dub- 
lin, called a meeting of citizens on the 7th of June, 
where resolutions were passed that the constitution 
of Parliament was unbearable, that the people must 
have a share in the representation, and that the Ca- 
tholics must have the franchise ; that a venal and 
corrupt House of Commons had treated the demands 
of Ireland with indignity and contempt; that under 
the Constitution of '82 any administration could have 
a majority, and that there was danger of absolute 
monarchy. A committee was chosen to consider the 
steps which ought to be taken. The committee 
reported, in the name of an injured and insulted king- 
dom, that their liberties were insecure, that their 
chartered rights had been infringed, and the freedom 
of the Press violated ; that the Commons were 1 a 
hired instrument to pillage an already impoverished 

1 ' Mr. Orde to Mr. Evan Nepean, April 30. Most private.' S. P. 0. 



book and distressed people ;' in fact, that there must be a 
_J^L^ new Convention. In the ensuing October a congress 
June °f 300 representatives, freely chosen by the Irish 
nation, must meet in Dublin. ' The majesty of the 
people would then resume its proper influence, and 
Divine Providence, knowing the justice of their cause, 
would assist them in obtaining their rights.' 

Finally, the Corporation drew a petition to the King, 
complaining that the Reform Bill had been denied a 
hearing, that protection had been refused to their 
infant manufactures, that their newspapers had been 
confiscated and the publishers punished. They ap- 
pealed for help to his majesty, and entreated him 
especially to abolish the remnant of the penal laws 
which oppressed their Catholic fellow-subjects. 

The High Sheriff carried the petition to the 
Viceroy, with a request that it might be transmitted 
to St. James's. 4 Gentlemen,' replied the Duke of 
Rutland, 1 while I comply with your request in trans- 
mitting this paper to his majesty, I shall not fail to 
convey my entire disapprobation of it, as casting un- 
just reflexions on the laws and Parliament of Ireland, 
and as tending to weaken the authority of both.' 

Belfast trod in the steps of Dublin, and prepared 
a similar petition, which was sent immediately to 
the King by a deputation from the town. Pitt 
answered more courteously and with exact truth, 
that 1 he had been and was a zealous friend to Re- 
form in Parliament, but on grounds different from 
theirs ; their plan was calculated to produce greater 
evils than those which the friends of Reform desired 
to remedy.' 

Petitions having failed, other methods were re- 
sorted to which had succeeded too often. Another non- 



importation agreement was drawn and sent round, chap. 
and largely signed — signed even by the Duke of - L 
Leinster. The tarring and feathering committee, l784; 

. ' August. 

growing bolder with impunity, ' established an absolute 
dominion over men's fears, so that Government in 
vain endeavoured to prevail on those who had suffered 
to make any depositions against their tormentors.' 1 
Dublin was patrolled nightly by cavalry and infantry, 
but the magistrates would lend no help ; and if 
the soldiers were attacked and defended themselves, 
there was a clamour that innocent citizens were in 
danger of their lives from British savages. 2 Every 
day there was risk of collision between the regular 
troops and the Volunteers of the city. Every day 
the Press informed the people that the rights of 
Ireland were bought and sold, and the principles of 
liberty betrayed by venality and corruption. 

The summer did not pass without actual bloodshed. 
At the end of August a conviction was at last 
obtained for tarring and feathering. A man named 
Garrat Dignam was tried, found guilty, and sen- 
tenced to be flogged through the streets. The city 
magistrates, against their will, were forced to be 
present ; the offender, with a strong guard of soldiers 
about him, was duly fastened to the cart's tail, and the 
lashing commenced. The crowd was enormous. At 
each cut furious yells ran along the line. Before 
the punishment was half over stones were thrown at 
the guard. A shot came from a window, by which a 
soldier was wounded. His comrades, without waiting 
for orders, levelled their muskets and fired into the 
howling mass. They had marked and succeeded in 

1 ' Mr. Orde to Mr. Evan Nepean, August 21. Most private. 

2 Ibid. 



book killing a conspicuous rioter, himself a member of the 
- — r— ' tarring and feathering committee, who was flourishing 
August. a sword. Three or four more were wounded. The 
crowd flew down the side lanes and disappeared, and 
the rest of the whipping was duly completed. 

i I am determined,' wrote the Duke of Rutland, in 
reporting what had passed, ' that the execution of 
the law shall not be wantonly resisted, as far as my 
power can have influence.' 1 

When Ireland was disturbed England's enemies on 
the Continent were on the alert. Irish officers in the 
French service scenting odours of rebellion were re- 
ported as coming over in disguise. The patriots had 
traitors in their camp, who reported to the Duke that 
the agitators were now meditating an open revolt 
while the Volunteer corps remained in arms. Napper 
Tandy and his friends were in the habit of holding 
secret meetings where French emissaries were present, 
especially one who had come to Ireland with an intro- 
duction which had been given to him by Lord Car- 
marthen, at the request of the French Ambassador in 
London. At one of these meetings there was a sin- 
gular scene. Ten years later the Irish patriots were 
red republicans, allies of Carnot and Hoche, anxious 
only to establish in Ireland the principles of Tom 
Paine. On this occasion Napper and his party 'drank 
the health of Louis XVI. on their knees.' 1 Their 
acknowledged object was separation from England 
and the establishment in Ireland of the Roman Ca- 
tholic religion.' 2 

The state of the city had begun to alarm quiet 

1 <To Lord Sydney, August 25, Sydney, August 26, 1784. Most 
1784.' S. P. 0. secret.' S. P. O. 

2 < The Duke of Rutland to Lord 



citizens even of patriotic sympathies. They desired to chap. 
mark their sense of * the late seditious proceedings ' i_ 
with proper indignation, and two parishes released Srl ^.*!; or 
themselves from the non-importation agreement, the 
Duke of Leinster heading the list of signatures. 1 But 
other measures were now needed. If rebellion was 
meditated, the Government required fuller knowledge ; 
and 1 a new plan of management ' had to be adopted 
1 to obtain exact information of the conduct and mo- 
tives of the most suspected persons.' 4 Useful and 
confidential agents,' whose silence and fidelity could 
be relied on, c who would write the daily history of 
a man's motions,' without betraying himself, were not 
to be found in Dublin. 

The Irish Secretary applied to the English Cabinet 
to furnish him from their own staff of informers. Two 
valuable persons answering to Mr. Orde's description 
were sent, and the name of one of them will be an 
unpleasant surprise to those already interested in the 
history of the time. 

They were both Irishmen — one was a skilled de- 
tective named Parker, an accomplished orator who 
could outmouth the noisiest patriot, and had already 
some knowledge of the leading agitators. Orde 
welcomed this man with a twinge of misgiving. ' I 
hope he is discreet,' he wrote, ' for he must to a cer- 
tain extent be possessed of the power of hurting us by 
garrulity or treachery.' 2 The other was no less a person 
than the celebrated Father O'Leary, whose memory 
is worshipped by Irish Catholic politicians with a 
devotion which approaches idolatry. O'Leary, as he 
was known to the world, was the most fascinating 

1 ' Duke of Kutland to Lord Sydney, August 26.' S. P.O. 

2 < Mr. Orde to Mr. Evan Nepean, September 8, 1784.' S. P. 0. 



book preacher, the most distinguished controversialist of 
>-. ^ L . ■* his time — a priest who had caught the language of 
September toleration, who had mastered all the chords of Liberal 
philosophy, and played on them like a master ; whose 
mission had been to plead against prejudice, to repre- 
sent his country as the bleeding lamb, maligned, 
traduced, oppressed, but ever praying for her ene- 
mies; as eager only to persuade England to offer 
its hand to the Catholic Church, and receive in re- 
turn the affectionate homage of undying gratitude. 
O'Leary had won his way to the heart of Burke by his 
plausible eloquence. Pitt seemed to smile on him : 
it is easy now to conjecture why. When he ap- 
peared in the Convention at the Rotunda the whole 
assembly rose to receive him. Had such a man 
been sent over on an open errand of conciliation his 
antecedents would have made the choice intelli- 
gible. But he was despatched as a paid and secret 
instrument of treachery, in reply to a request for a 
trained informer. What the Government really 
thought of Father O'Leary may be gathered from 
Orde's language when told to expect him. ' He could 
get to the bottom of all secrets in which the Catholics 
were concerned,' and Catholics were known to be the 
' chief promoters 7 of the agitation in Dublin. But he 
too was to be dealt with cautiously, for he was a priest. 
' They are all of them,' Orde said, 'designing knaves' — 
4 the only good to be derived from them is perhaps to 
deceive them into an idea that they are believed.' 1 

Parker and O'Leary reached Dublin at the end of 
September, and were both at once set to work. 

L Your experts have arrived safe,' wrote the Secre- 

1 ' Mr. Orde to Mr. Evan Nepean, October 17.' S. P. 0. 



tary reporting their appearance. 'At this moment CHAP. 

we are about to make trial of OXeary's sermons and < r — 

Parker's rhapsodies. They may be both in their dif- s 
ferent callings of very great use. The former, if we 
can depend on him. has it in his power to discover to us 
the real designs of the Catholics, from which quarter, 
after all. the real mischief is to spring. The other can 
scrape an acquaintance with the great leaders of sedi- 
tion, particularly Napper Tandy, and perhaps dive to 
the bottom of his secrets.' 1 

1 'Mr. Orde to Mr. Evan Xepean, September 23, 1784. Private." 
S. P. 0. 




B °° K Anxiety was now concentrated on the intended 
^-j-^j-" Congress. It was not to consist, as before, of delegates 
September, 'from the Volunteers, but of professed representatives 
of the Irish nation. If such a Congress was elected 
and was allowed to meet, an armed collision between 
the people and the troops was anticipated as certain to 
ensue. The Irish noblemen and gentlemen, though in 
the utmost alarm, were too cowardly to appear in open 
opposition, and left the danger and the responsibility 
to the Government. 1 The Government, seeing that 
there was a real crisis, and that hesitation would be 
fatal, screwed its courage to the sticking-point. Lord 
Northington would have interfered with the Con- 
vention had he dared. The Duke of Rutland was 
braver than Northington, and determined that this 
new Congress should neither meet nor, if possible, 
be elected. Napper Tandy had issued circulars to 
the sheriffs of every county in Ireland requiring 
them to summon the King's lieges and invite them 
to choose representatives. The Duke sent official 
intimation to the sheriffs that such a proceeding 
would be contrary to the law and would not be per- 
mitted. Most of them had the wisdom to accept the 
warning. The impetuous High Sheriff of Dublin, 

1 ' Itis impossible to conceive ence, but they hope to lie concealed 

any difficulty equal to that of pre- under the wing of the administra- 

vailing on the principal persons tion which is to expose itself to the 

here to take an active part to assist whole attack. — Mr. Orde to Mr. 

the Government. They are not Evan Nepean, September 23, 1784.' 

insensible to the danger of indiff'er- S. P. 0. 



Mr. Stephen Reilly, dared to disobey. His office CHAP 
gave him authority to call out the strength of the ! - 
county. He used it as a pretext to call a meeting of 
the freeholders, for a purpose ceitainly not contem- 
plated when the Sheriffs had their powers assigned to 
them. The county members, General Luttrell and 
Luke Gardiner, attended to enter protests against the 
illegality of the Sheriff's action. They were outvoted. 
A resolution was passed to meet again and choose 
members for the Congress ; another followed, that 
the Dublin citizens would support the Congress with 
their lives and fortunes. 

4 The leading persons ' in the country were hanging 
back, but there was fortunately one member of the 
Administration who did not hang back — who under- 
stood the country, and knew that Irish sedition was 
formidable only to those who were afraid of it. In 
this same lawless summer, when Fitzgibbon was 
recruiting at Mount Shannon after the work of the 
session, a desperate ruffian was holding possession by 
force of a farm in the neighbourhood, from which 
he had been legally ejected. 

The Sheriff of Limerick came to consult Fitzgibbon 
on the propriety of calling in the troops to enforce 
the law. Fitzgibbon said it would not be necessary. 
He mounted his horse, and took but a single servant 
with him. Usually when he went abroad he car- 
ried arms : this time he left his pistols behind. 
He rode to the farmhouse, called the man to the door, 
and expostulated with him on his folly. He told him 
that if he did not surrender his holding in half an 
hour, he would assemble the gentlemen of the county, 
and not only dispossess him, but lay him in Limerick 
Gaol. The effect was instantaneous. The man was 

VOL. II. e E 



book cowed and submitted. Precisely in the same spirit Fitz- 
- VI1 ' gibbon encountered the danger which was threatened 
October m Dublin. He addressed a letter to Reilly, informing 
him that in summoning the freeholders he had been 
guilty of a serious breach of duty. If he called them 
together again and proceeded to an election, he would 
himself, as Attorney -General, immediately prosecute 
him. Reilly laughed at the threat, called his meet- 
ing, and was amusing his audience with reading Fitz- 
gibbon's admonitions, when Fitzgibbon himself walked 
into the room, and then and there, in the very lion's 
den, he repeated to these fiery patriots that he would 
call the SherhT to account if he took the chair and 
went further with the business in which he was 

Irishmen admire personal courage even more than 
they love agitation. Stephen Reilly was overawed. 
The meeting dispersed, and the county of Dublin 
was without its representatives. When the 25th of 
October came, the day appointed for the Congress 
to assemble, a contemptible handful of gentlemen 
alone presented themselves. They met at a house 
in William Street, where they debated with closed 
doors. The Bishop of Derry had taken warning and 
staid at home. Flood attended, but was found un- 
satisfactory on Catholic emancipation. The abortive 
effort to supplant the Parliament was extinguished 
in ridicule, and the Congress went the way of the 

From this moment till a new madness possessed 
the Legislature, the insubordination of Dublin was 
subdued. The punishment of one criminal and the 
fire of the soldiers made an end of the tarring and 
feathering. Fitzgibbon, who had done the work, 
to establish the principle, and to prevent for ever the 



upgrowth of rival representative assemblies, pro- chap. 
ceeded against Reilly by attachment as an officer of < — !^ 
the State who had abused his commission. Challenged 
on the point of law the Attorney-General was sup- 
ported by the Judges. Reilly was sentenced to fine 
and imprisonment. He was pardoned on making his 
submission, but authority had successfully asserted 
itself. 1 

The Duke was able to report more cheerfully of 
his prospects. He could speak of ' the late ferment ' 
as something that was past. The gentry had recovered 
their courage. The agitation was now limited to 4 a 
Republican Section at Belfast and to particular classes 
among the Catholics who were worked on by priests 
and French emissaries.' Confined to these it had lost 
power to hurt. 4 Rather,' he said, 4 the improper con- 
duct of a few Catholics, and the publications of a 
Catholic newspaper, the avowed disloyalty of some 
and the disloyalty of others, were likely so to cement 
together the men of property that Government would 
be stronger than ever.' 2 

1 In the following February would have come before a jury of 

Flood attacked Fitzgibbon in Par- the Sheriff's own choosing, 
liarnent for the attachment of Reilly. Flood again argued that attach- 

Fitzgibbon replied, that in sum- ments were an emanation from the 

moning the freeholders under cover Star Chamber, and were not part of 

of the posse comitatus to "elect re- the law of the land. The Attorney- 

presentatives, the Sheriff had broken General insisted ' that the election 

the law. The Sheriff's power was of representatives for a county, 

an emanation of Royal authority, under the nature of delegates, 

and was therefore punishable in a without the King's writ, was a 

summary manner by the King's violation of the Constitution.' The 

Bench, where the King was sup- House of Commons supported Fitz- 

posed personally to reside. gibbon's view by a majority of more 

Curran said this was the intro- than two to one. — Irish Debates, 

duction of arbitrary power. He February, 1785. 
asked why the Attorney-General 2 ' Edward Cooke to Mr. Evan 

had not indicted Reilly before a Nepean, October 30. Private.' 

jury. Fitzgibbon said the case S. P. 0. 

e E 2 



book The Constitution of '82, after a near escape from 
w V f L . * destruction in the violent rolls which had followed 

October tne l auncn ? might now be considered fairly afloat. 
The composition of the House of Commons remained 
absurd. The means by which it was kept in working 
condition were disgraceful to itself and to England, 
and the demand at the sword's point for revolutionary 
changes having been successfully resisted, Mr. Pitt 
allowed himself to think that some degree of Reform 
might now be ventured. The question would pro- 
bably be revived in another form when Parliament 
reopened. He recommended the Duke of Rutland 
to establish a Protestant militia, which would of course 
be accompanied by the suppression of the Volunteers. 
He contemplated bringing an alteration of the Repre- 
sentation at an early period before the Parliament of 
Great Britain. If the discussion could be postponed 
in Dublin till the subject had been settled in Eng- 
land, he implied, without positively stating, that the 
Government would consent to some necessary changes 
in Ireland also. ' The delay,' said the Cabinet letter, 
4 will enable your Grace to discover more clearly 
what plan of reform, if the event should at last take 
that turn, would be agreeable to the greatest number, 
and meet least objection from those who have hitherto 
supported the connection between Great Britain and 
Ireland.' 1 

1 Draft of a Cabinet letter to the Duke of Kutland, January 11, 




Mr. Pitt's anxiety to restore Ireland to health and chap. 
vigour was not confined to Parliamentary Reform. w_ I — 
He desired to repair the injuries which had so long January 
paralysed her manufacturing industry ; and although 
he would not indulge her inclination to rush into pro- 
tective duties which would have enriched a few traders 
at the expense of the Irish consumers, he was willing 
to risk unpopularity at home by giving Ireland a 
genuine participation in the commercial prosperity of 
England, and so to arrange the trade of the two 
countries that English capital and English skill 
should be employed indiscriminately in both. The 
haste with which the Constitution of '82 had been 
hurried through had left the entire question un- 
touched. Ireland had free trade, but who was to 
protect her trade, who was to represent her mer- 
chants abroad, under what system of duties were 
her exchanges with foreign countries to be regulated, 
and her manufactures or raw products allowed privi- 
lege in the markets, or passage through the ports, of 
the sister country ? All these matters, vital as they 
were to Ireland's interests, remained open, and the 
settlement of them had hitherto been made impossible 
by the bondage of the Irish Parliament to the preten- 
sions to which they had committed themselves. They 
had asserted their right of legislating for Ireland, 
externally as well as internally. There was now no 
escape but through a commercial treaty. 

In the summer of 1784, Mr. Joshua Prim, a Dublin 



book merchant, privately laid a scheme before Pitt, which 
— r— ' in its commercial aspect was supremely favourable to 
January I re l an d — so favourable that his chief uncertainty was 
whether the English Parliament could be induced to 
listen to it. Divided into eleven propositions, it was 
based on the principle of the equalisation of duties in 
both countries. The Irish linen manufacturers were 
to retain the protection which they enjoyed at present 
in the English markets. Ketaining the privilege of 
fixing their own scale of duties on their own products, 
they were enabled by a special article to control the 
duties imposed on such articles in England. Intelli- 
gent men of business both in England and Ireland were 
agreed that the effect of the arrangement would be to 
make the Irish harbours the dep&ts of a large part of 
English commerce, and must operate as a proportionate 
encouragement to Irish domestic manufacture. 1 

In adopting Mr. Prim's proposals, Pitt's inten- 
tion was to present Ireland with a genial offering of 
national good will, to abolish the memory of ancient 
grievances, and to open a road to sound reconciliation. 
The Irish Parliament met on the 20th of January. 
The speech from the throne recommended the com- 
mercial relations of the two countries to the conside- 
ration of the House of Commons. It treated the 
interests of England and Ireland as inseparable. Con- 
fident in her own sincerity, Great Britain hoped that 
Ireland would meet her in a conciliatory spirit. 

The beginning was unpropitious. Lord Edward 
Fitzgerald, now twenty-one years old, made his first 
appearance in Irish politics by opposing the address 
on the ground of the Eeilly prosecution. It came 

1 See the articles in Plowden, vol. iii. p. 105, note. 



to nothing, however ; and on the 7th of February Mr. chap. 
Orde, on behalf of Government, produced the eleven >. ]' — 
resolutions which were to form the basis of the new ™l 785, 


treaty. He went through the substantial part of his 
statement apparently with general approval. The Irish 
members were not generally skilled in commercial 
details, but each of the first ten articles seemed either to 
be innocent or to contain specific concessions to Irish 
interests. He arrived at the eleventh, the last. In 
return for a free, full, and perfect partnership with 
England, for free commerce with the English colonies, 
to whose foundation she had contributed nothing, for 
exclusion of the linen of Russia and Germany from 
the English markets in favour of the Ulster looms, 
for the protection of the navy abroad and at home, 
and the assistance of the English Consular depart- 
ment in every part of the world, the Parliament 
of Great Britain expected Ireland to make some con- 
cession. The condition required was so mild that 
it would be inoperative until the Irish trade had 
become vigorous, and in times of depression would 
cease to bind. It was simply this, that for the pro- 
tection of trade, whenever the gross hereditary revenue 
of Ireland should exceed 650,000/., the excess should 
be applied to the support of the Imperial Fleet. 

The Secretary had no sooner sate down than Mr. 
Brownlow, the member for Armagh, who had been 
struggling to restrain his emotions, rose to deliver 

' I was hardly able/ he said, ' to contain my indig- 
nation while the honourable gentleman was speaking. 
I am astonished at his hardiness in proposing a 
resolution tending to make Ireland a tributary nation 
to Great Britain. The same terms were held out to 






America. Ireland has equal spirit to reject them. 
It is happy for Mr. Orde that he is in a country 
remarkable for humanity. Had he proposed such a 
measure in a Polish Diet, he would not have lived to 
carry back an answer to his master. The words of 
Virgil are often quoted — 

" Timeo Danaos et dona ferentes." 

I for my part have no fear. If the gifts of Britain 
are to be accompanied with the slavery of Ireland, I 
will never be a slave to pay tribute. 1 will hurl 
back her gifts with scorn.' 1 

The note had been touched which always drove 
Ireland mad. Brownlow's extravagant language 
found no imitators. He himself, indeed, apologised 
for it. Grattan spoke approvingly of the essential 
part of the propositions : but the eleventh article he, 
too, as well as every patriot in the House and out of 
it, refused to hear of. 

Orde remonstrated with Grattan in private. John 
Foster, the most accomplished master of finance in 
the House, 1 tried to convince him of the impolicy of 
opposition at so critical a time/ Their arguments 
produced nothing but a letter in which the great 
leader declared his determination to resist on the 
point to the death. 

c You know Mr. Grattan's character,' the Duke 
wrote : 4 experience has shown to what effect he can 
exercise his abilities when a strong ground of popu- 
larity is given him to stand upon.' 

The national pride was touched, and Grattan would 
have forfeited confidence for ever had he hesitated. 

1 Irish Debates, February 7, 1785. ' Duke of Eutland to Lord 
Sydney. Most secret.' S. P. 0. 



He took his ground with skill, and rested his oppo- chap. 
sition on economic grounds. He told Orde that ' till L _^ 
the Government brought its expenditure within the „ 1 / s,) - 

° * icLruary. 

revenue, he would not consent to the appropriation of 
a farthing of it. The system of carrying on the 
administration by loans was ruinous/ c He foresaw 
the violent resentment of an exasperated people, to 
whom Government, if it persevered, would become to 
the last degree obnoxious.' 

The Irish Council, who knew the country, felt the 
hopelessness of resistance. The revenue leaking at a 
thousand pores through the inveteracy of the smug- 
gling trade could never rise till the legitimate com- 
merce was expanded. England was holding out 
what, under the existing circumstances of the world, 
might have proved to Ireland a very horn of plenty. 
Ireland would not have it. The Council warned 
Rutland that he would proceed at his peril. They re- 
commended an alteration limiting the appropriation 
to years in which the revenue should not be exceeder], 
and the introduction of an additional resolution that 
the interests of Ireland required that the accumulation 
of debt should be prevented and the revenue be made 
equal with the expenditure. 

The Viceroy consented against his judgment. 1 
Grattan gave his support with the new condition 
attached, and thus modified the resolutions were 
accepted by Ireland and transmitted. 

Doubtless it was well to equalise income with out- 
goings. But the Parliament might have remedied 
what was amiss by a yet further resolution of self- 

1 ' The Duke of Rutland to Lord Sydney, February 12. Most secret.' 
S. P. 0. 



book denial, a resolution to demand no more wages in 
VII • • 

t l- > future for abstaining from mutiny. The Cabinet well 

February understood the meaning of the proceeding. They did 
not blame the Duke, but they insisted naturally enough 
that it was useless to propose the treaty to the Par- 
liament of Great Britain, unless Ireland, if she was to 
be admitted to share the commercial advantages of 
England, acknowledged her obligation to bear a pro- 
portional part of the expense. 1 

The British Parliament showed rapidly its own 
opinion of the matter. Pitt introduced the resolu- 
tions, modified as they were, in a speech in which he 
recommended Ireland to England's penitent gene- 
rosity. He dwelt long on the tyranny by which for 
so many years the commerce of Ireland had been 
oppressed, and he invited the House warmly, and as 
an act of justice, to atone for it by now extending to 
her, without reserve, full rights of partnership with 
England and Scotland. 

It is remarkable that the opposition rose from the 
quarter where Grattan's first efforts to liberate Irish 
trade had met the warmest support. The Irish had 
shrieked at the propositions as a snare to rob them of 
their liberties. Fox thought they conceded far too 
much to Ireland. They appeared to him to constitute 
Ireland grand arbitress of the commercial interests 
of the empire. The great towns struck in with 
petitions and remonstrances, to which Ireland's re- 
fusal to bind herself to contribute to the general 
expenses gave irresistible point. The propositions in 
their original form were abandoned; and an effort made 

1 ' Lord Sydney to the Duke of Eutland, February 24, February 
28, and March 3, 1785.' S. P. 0. 



in good faith to bring together the two countries, chap. 
indissolubly united by nature, and for that reason, . — ^ — 
perhaps, so difficult to persuade into unity, was broken Fe * ' r *''; v 
down by Ireland's passion for visionary and impossible 

Still Pitt persevered. He took back his scheme, 
and set himself to remodel it in a form under which 
it might have better fortune. 




book Meanwhile Ireland having again gone wild, was 
- VI1 '-^ finding food for fresh suspicion. While it was fright - 
February ene( l by Conventions and Congresses, the Parliament 
had been reasonable. No sooner was the danger 
ended by Fitzgibbon's courage than, instead of the 
halcyon days to which Rutland had looked forward, 
squalls came sweeping up from all sides of the hori- 
zon. Mr. Brownlow's speech had set the Irish blood 
boiling, and the passions which had been transferred 
to the Rotunda had migrated back to College Green. 

To supersede the Volunteers by a force responsible 
to the executive was indispensable to the return of 
order and the revival of industry. Most of the ori- 
ginal members had gone back to their occupations, 
and the regiments had been replenished from discon- 
tented artisans and aspiring and dangerous Catholics. 
The commercial propositions were to have smoothed 
the way towards the substitution for this question- 
able body of an organised militia. The way was now 
rougher than before, yet it w T as absolutely necessary 
to make the attempt. The eleventh article had cre- 
ated a suspicion that there was a Saxon plot on foot 
to undo the work of '82. The introduction of a 
Militia Bill turned the suspicion into certainty. 
Feared and condemned when the mad bishop was 
their hero, the Volunteers were again regarded as 
the saviours of Ireland. Eulogies were poured on 
them from all sides of the House. They were the 
sacred army of Ireland's Constitution. They had 


watched over its birth. They had guarded its in- chap. 

fancy. They, and only they, could be trusted to pro- • r— — - 

tect its maturing years against the treachery which Yebruaxy. 
threatened it. 

Truth was too cold an element to suit the Irish 
House of Commons. To speak truth there was 
to be a traitor. It was, perhaps, a greater effort of 
courage in Fitzgibbon to resist the patriot members 
when they had the Volunteer frenzy on them, than 
to face Mr. Reilly's meeting or Napper Tandy's 
Congress. He rose when the tempest was loudest, 
and spoke with a clear, cold voice which compelled 
silence, cutting out his words as in a mould : — 

4 Gentlemen have run into an odd strain of invec- 
tive against Government, and eulogium on the Vo- 
lunteers, because it is proposed to establish a militia. 
It is a new idea that a militia is an unconstitutional 
force. In England it is held the only constitutional 
army that can be embodied. It is impossible that the 
Volunteers — be their intentions ever so good or their 
loyalty ever so firm — can be of effectuajl service but 
under the command of the executive magistrate. 
When gentlemen say the contrary, they talk a lan- 
guage that was never before heard from persons of 
understanding. ... If the same men had continued 
Volunteers, if they had not suffered their glory to be 
sullied, their names to be blasphemed by admitting 
into their ranks the armed beggary of the soil, they 
would have still remained the ornament of their coun- 
try. But of the original Volunteers the great majo- 
rity have hung up their arms, and are retired to 
cultivate the arts of peace. Their station has been 
assumed by men who disgrace the name, and there 
is scarce a dishonourable action which such men 


book have not committed. I have seen resolutions inviting 
>_ XIL - the French into the country. In the April of last 

178o. r ^ e g ons Q f S]2 amroc k voted every French- 
February, j j < 

man of character honorary member of their corps. 

I have seen publications inviting Catholics, contrary 
to the law of the land, to arm themselves to reform 
the Constitution in Church and State. I have seen 
encomiums on Louis the Sixteenth, the friend of 
mankind and the assertor of American liberty. I have 
seen invitations to the dregs of the people to go to 
drill and form into corps. I have seen a summons 
from a major, ordering his corps to attend, with 
rounds of ball-cartridge, as there might be occasion 
for actual service. Will any man tell me we should 
be overawed by people like these ? Are the Com- 
mons of Ireland to be told they shall not have a 
militia till the dregs of the people who blast and 
disgrace the name of Volunteers shall choose to per- 
mit them ? Let no one threaten the Commons of 
Ireland with the displeasure of any body of men out 
of doors. No body of men out of doors shall intimi- 
date them. I desire again to distinguish between the 
gentlemen of Ireland, the original Volunteers, and 
the dregs of the people who, led on by vile incen- 
diaries, dishonour the Volunteers' name ; and I say, 
if I had no other reason than to show those sons of 
sedition that Government had a power to blast them 
to atoms, I would vote for the establishment of a 
militia. ' 1 

Fierce as some band of devotees whose idol has 
suffered insult, the patriots in the House stormed 
against the blasphemer of the Volunteers. Their 

1 Irish Debates, February 14, 1785. 



shouts reached the streets, and were caught and cpAP. 

echoed by the again delirious mob. For three days > — J. 

Dublin was in inarticulate frenzy. On the 18th it V J 
found words, and Mr. Brownlow renewed his motion 
that the Volunteers had deserved well of their country. 
Luke Gardiner proposed as an amendment, that the 
House approves the conduct of those who since the 
war had gone back to their occupations. This was to 
repeat Fitzgibbon's insults. Mr. Todd Jones, an emi- 
nent disciple of Flood, cried out that he would hear 
no aspersions on the members of that noble body. 
They were accused of meddling in politics. He hoped 
they would continue to meddle till they had saved 
their country from a baneful aristocracy. 4 The Vo- 
lunteers/ he said, 4 must aid the populace.' 

Cries of ; Order' rose from the Government benches. 

• Is a man to speak in this House,' enquired Mr. 
Sergeant Fitzgerald, ' of aiding the populace against 
the Constitution ? ' 

Todd Jones refused to retract his words. ; By 
populace he meant the magnanimous people of Ire- 
land.' He was forced at last to make a faint apology. 
Flood followed, however, in the same wild strain. 
He said that to speak against the Volunteers was 
blasphemy ; that the gathering of the Volunteers 
was the most glorious page in Irish history. He 
moved to add to the amendment of Luke Gardiner 
that it was not 4 to compromise the undoubted right 
of the freemen of Ireland to the possession and use 
of arms.' 

Fitzgibbon, and only Fitzgibbon, could bring the 
Irish House of Commons to its senses. He liked to 
remiud them of their inconsistencies. He moved 
that the Clerk of the House should read from the 


journals the reception of the bill sent from the Volun- 
teer Convention. He then proceeded : — 

1 Not a man in this House has opposed the resolu- 
tions of thanks to the Volunteers for their conduct 
during the war. But there is scarce an injurious ex- 
pression which has not been heaped on the ministry 
because an amendment is moved conveying approba- 
tion of such as retired on the return of peace. From 
the first I have ever reprobated the idea of appealing to 
the Volunteers, though I was confident Ireland was 
in no danger while they followed the counsel of the 
man whom I am proud to call my most worthy and 
honourable friend (Mr. Grattan). Sir, I say, while 
the Volunteers continued under his influence, I feared 
no evil from them; but I apprehended what has since 
come to pass, that when they should forsake him, 
designing incendiaries would make them the tools of 
faction and instruments of their vile ambition. The 
press has teemed with writings subversive of the 
Constitution in Church and State. Every man that 
has shown an attachment to the religion or Govern- 
ment of his country has been libelled and calumniated, 
and the dregs of the people whose birthright I shall 
show that it is not, have been invited to carry arms. 
Sir, I say they should be compelled to lay them down. 
As long as such a body of men exists with arms in 
their hands, ready, at the instigation of any wicked 
man who, by declamation and affected popularity, 
may gain an ascendancy over them, to destroy the 
Constitution in Church and State, I say Govern- 
ment is not safe. It has been said every Protestant 
has a right to keep arms. It is not denied. But 
they have no right to flock to a standard except 
at the King's command and by his authority. 



1 1 defy any man to refute me. This is the law. chap. 
If there were any doubt of it, I would bring in a bill 
to declare it. The gentleman (Mr. Flood) says we > 
mean to divide the Volunteers. Does he mean to 
admit Catholics? I am not a bigot, but I say the 
Irish Protestant who would admit Catholics to the 
use of arms, if he does not do it out of folly, is a 
most dangerous enemy to the country. The gentle- 
man has intimated that there is a general disposition 
to resist the laws gone forth among the people, and 
therefore we should not coerce them. This is rea- 
soning worthy of the cause. But it is not founded 
in fact. If it was, it would be the very reason for 

1 Sir, there can never be a good government while 
a body of men independent of the State remains in 
arms. I would therefore wish to see them retire to 
cultivate the blessings of peace. Any man who does 
not array under lawful authority ought not to be 

The Patriots hooted, but the Attorney-General's 
courage was contagious. Members who had held 
high Volunteer commands agreed with him that an 
armed force which refused obedience to the execu- 
tive was virtually a rebel force. Mr. Green, the mem- 
ber for Dungarvan, said that a few evenings past he 
had seen a sergeant drilling a company of ragged, 
dano-erous-lookincr ruffians, in Marlborough Street. 
He asked him what he was about with such men ; 
the sergeant said rough times were coming ; he was 
drilling them, to have them ready, and, damn him, 
he would have them as complete a corps as was in 
Ireland. In another street Mr. Green had seen a 
second sergeant with eighty recruits of similar aspect. 






He enquired to whom this corps belonged. ' Belong ? 7 
said the man. 6 They belong to nobody ; they are 
my corps, and by God I'll have them the best in 
Ireland, for there is to be a rebellion.' 

' Were such men Volunteers ? ' Green asked. £ They 
were a desperate banditti, and ought to be disarmed.' 

Mr. Brownlow's resolution was lost by 175 votes 
to 64. Luke Gardiner's amendment, commending 
the Volunteers who had returned to private life to 
cultivate the blessings of peace, was carried by a yet 
larger majority. But the House was still half-hearted. 
The Government was obliged to withdraw the Militia 
Bill, and to abandon for the present the hope of deal- 
ing effectually with a dangerous body, who might 
at any moment set the country in a name. 1 

1 Lord Charlemont was still the 
nominal Commander-in-Chief of 
the Volunteers, whom he dreaded, 
yet was reluctant to break with, 
lie had issued orders for a summer 
review, and the Newry regiment 
presented him, in answer, with an 
address, intended as a reply to Fitz- 
gibbon and Luke Gardiner. It 
was hushed up as too strong for 
publication : — 

* My Lord, — Your Lordship's or- 
ders for a summer review, and our 
alacrity in obeying them, are the 
best answer to the late indirect 
attack on the perpetuity of the 
Volunteer establishment. We shall 
endeavour to protect as well as 
cultivate the blessings of peace, by 
holding ourselves well prepared for 
war ; and conscious that those bless- 
ings are precarious when held at 
the discretion of others, we shall 
retain our arms, not only as proof 
of present possession, but as a seal 
of future security. 

' Peace, my Lord, is not the 

gloomy stillness of men brooding 
over the wrongs they have suf- 
fered. It is the stable tranquillity 
of undaunted freedom, fixing a firm 
footing on the rights of human 
nature, and leaning on the arms by 
which those rights are to be de- 

' We will not lay down our arms. 
They are the pledges of peace, which 
is the object and end of our insti- 
tution. They are dear to us on 
many accounts — dear for what they 
have gained, dear for what they 
will still gain, and doubly dear, by 
cementing a union between us 
faithful Volunteers and you our 
honoured commander. 

' We shall grasp hard, my Lord, 
what we thus hold dear. Should a 
time ever arrive when foreign ty- 
ranny shall give place to domestic 
usurpation, when law shall be put 
as it were on the rack to give evi- 
dence against the principles of the 
constitution, when juries shall be 
superseded by judges, and the 



The battle upon the Volunteers was thus practically 
a victory of the Patriots. To fill the time, till the 
commercial question should come on again, there 
were partial skirmishes on Parliamentary Reform. 
An independent member introduced a Bill to prevent 
the purchase of seats — one of those Bills so good in 
themselves which answer the purpose of no one 
Mr. Brownlow was able to show that the saleable 
boroughs were the hope of the Radical party. s The 
most advanced Reformers, men of independent spirit, 
unconnected with and uninfluenced by the persons by 
whom they were returned, thus found seats in Par- 
liament. If the patrons were forbidden to sell, they 
would return their own creatures or would oive the 
nomination to the ministers, and the public would 
pay the price of the seat to the person who misrepre- 
sented them.' 

A more comprehensive measure would alone 
answer the ends of anarchy. On the 28th of April 
Mr. Flood re-introduced the Bill of the last session. 

' Great Britain,' he said, ' had been destroyed by 
the corruption of her Parliament. Ireland's case 
was worse. He had wept for years over it. Even 
in the counties the elections were a farce ; the returns 

summary jurisdiction of particular ourselves totally stripped and de- 
Courts be made an omnipotent and spoiled while our arms are remain- 
omnipresent instrument of minis- ing. But if our enemies should 
terial vengeance, when every ob- ever express a desire to wrench out 
struction shall be thrown into the of our hands this last hope, this 
channels of public information and solitary distinction left between a 
private correspondence, when the freeman and a slave, what then, 
business of finance shall be the sole dear General, can we do but answer 
business of the State, when exten- in laconic and soldierly language, 
sion of trade shall be transformed in a single word, in a single syllable, 
into a severe system of taxation, il Try ? : " 

and when Ireland shall be kept as Enclosed by the Duke of Rut- 

a barrack for the empire — even land to Lord Sydney, May 20, 

then, my Lord, we shall not deem 1785. S. P. 0. 

f f 2 



book were controlled by manufactured votes. A landowner 


— r— ' in Tyrone said to his neighbour in Armagh, " I will 
Ufa ' make forty or fifty freeholders in your county, if 
you will make as many in mine. They shall go to 
you if yours come to me." In the towns, when a form 
of franchise remained, men were made honorary 
members of the corporations to swamp the votes of 
the genuine electors. Was it not childish, was it 
not an insult to the understanding to call a House of 
Commons so chosen representative ? ' 

The true answer was that a House of Commons 
which should be really representative would throw the 
country into convulsions, and was incompatible with 
the maintenance of English authority. It was better, 
therefore, to leave unchanged a system which, if ab- 
surd in theory, at least made government possible. 

The bare truth would have been unpalatable. Un- 
derstood by every one it could not be nakedly avowed. 
Fitzgibbon's heavy artillery was not needed when 
the object was to play with fictions. 

The speaker for the Castle was Sir Hercules Lan- 
grishe, the witty favourite of the Duke of Rutland. 

L If/ he said, ' there could be such a mass of oddity 
in the human mind as that the people were in love 
beforehand with everything which calls itself Reform, 
I could furnish a seraglio for their raptures. I have 
in my pocket seventeen different plans for Reform in 
Parliament, and I could collect as many more. The 
honourable gentleman says the people demand Reform. 
The mob may demand it, but not the people. Peace 
and industry are ever silent ; discontent and disorder 
are ever clamorous, and ten men and ten women 
that are clamorous make more noise than ten thou- 
sand who are satisfied and silent. When a man talks 



of the voice of the people, he means the voice of those chap. 
who echo his own. Personal equality of representa- • — J— 
tion, the only equality that I can conceive, would be \[^ K 
a pure democracy, and in a country like ours, where 
the democracy does not profess the religion of the 
State, a democracy subversive of the laws and the 

The Bill was again thrown out on the second read- 
ing by 112 to 60. 




book Had Ireland accepted the eleven propositions in the 
. — r— - spirit in which they were offered, Mr. Pitt might 
August. nave induced the British Parliament, perhaps with a 
bad grace, to swallow them. Mr. Brownlow's burst 
of rhetoric and Grattan's support of him furnished 
the Opposition with effective weapons, and it fared 
with the offers made to Ireland as with the books of 
the Sibyl. 

Re-digested and extended to twenty, the articles 
now proposed for a treaty of commerce between the 
two kingdoms withdrew privileges which the Irish 
might have retained, and interposed stipulations 
which encroached further on Irish independence than 
the obligation in the eleventh resolution, which had 
been the occasion of the storm. In deference to the 
wishes of Liverpool and London, it was now pro- 
vided that, whatever Navigation laws were adopted 
by the British Parliament, the Irish Legislature must 
bind itself to re-enact. Under the terms first offered 
Irish trade was unrestricted by local limitation, and 
the East and West Indies would have been alike open 
to them. Though they might still trade freely for 
themselves with the Dutch, Spanish, and French 
Colonies in the West Indies, they were allowed to 
re-import into England only the produce of the 
English West Indian Colonies, and ' they were de- 
barred from countries east of the Cape of Good 
Hope 9 so long as the Charter of the East India Com- 
pany continued. 



The new resolutions were carried through the En g- chap. 

lish House of Commons on the 20th of May, and « r — 

through the House of Lords on the 19th of July. J\™ 
On the 12th of August Mr. Orde came once more 
before the Irish Parliament with his altered wares. 

The changes made were of course notorious. They 
had been debated up and down the country, and had 
been received with rage and disappointment. The 
Table of the House of Commons was covered with 
denunciatory petitions. The petitioners prided them- 
selves on their discernment. It was now proved 
that, as they suspected, England had been laying a 
snare all along to deceive them. ' A serpent was in 
the bowl which had been offered to their lips,' and 
simple, confiding Ireland had been all but bitten 
by it. 

The Government had anticipated an outcry, but had 
not been prepared for such utterly wild extravagance. 
Characteristically the indignation turned less on the 
substantial advantages which had been withdrawn than 
on the imaginary menace to their independence, which 
was now as they conceived more nakedly revealed. 

The serpent which they detected was hidden in the 
clause which bound them to re-enact England's 
Navigation laws. Grattan said that such a demand 
was a revocation of the Constitution. Sir Lawrence 
Parsons said that the resolutions meant at best that 
England had a right to extend the commerce of 
Ireland — an assertion of superiority which no Irish- 
man should allow. There had been hints in the 
English papers of a possible Legislative Union. 
Miood God, sir,' exclaimed Dennis Drown, 'what 
union could we have with Great Britain but a union 
of debt and taxation V 



book Then Flood came riding triumphant on the crest 
_^L~< of the popular wave. He described the whole 
A 178 °; affair as the most infamous attack on Irish inde- 


pendence. 6 The Irish Parliament,' he said, amidst 
salvoes of applause, 4 will not become the register of 
the English Parliament. Freedom of the Constitu- 
tion is necessary to freedom of trade. Liberty is the 
nurse of commerce ; I will not give up an atom of it. 
I. say you have not a right to give it up ; but if a 
Parliament could be so base, so profligate, as to 
attempt it (" Hear, hear," from Fitzgibbon), I ask 
you may it not be attempted ? Was not every Euro- 
pean country free once as yours ? Why are they now 
slaves but by the corruption of their Senates ? Could 
you be so corrupt, I assure you the people will not. 
They must not. They shall not. I will raise my voice. 
I will be heard in the extremity of the land. I say 
if you give leave to bring in a Bill you are no longer 
a Parliament. I will no longer consider you so. 
Meet it boldly, and not like dastards fearful to guard 
your rights, though you talk bravely to your wives 
and children, trembling at a foreign nation. 7 

The unfortunate Secretary protested mildly that 
the House was out of its wits. England had no 
treacherous intentions. She wished only to attach 
Ireland closer to herself, and to prevent a rivalry in 
trade which could only injure them both. The reso- 
lutions as they stood removed the prohibitions which 
English jealousy had created to keep her trade to 
herself. They could not fail to be infinitely beneficial 
to Ireland, so beneficial that there had been the 
greatest difficulty in inducing England to consent to 

Orde's words were blown to atoms as they left his 
lips. All night long the howling gusts continued. 



Grattan said that if ever the question was presented to i 

them, whether the Empire or the Constitution was to 1 _ 

be sacrificed, he as an Irishman would say — Perish the }J l 
Empire. Curran spoke at six in the morning, 4 hoping 
his exhausted condition was not a symbol of the con- 
dition to which his country would be reduced if the 
Bill became law.' At nine in the morning 1 the House 1 , 
divided. Leave was given to introduce Mr. Orde's 
Bill, but only by a narrow majority of 19. 

Two days were allowed, in the feeble hope that the 
delirium would abate. On the 15th the Bill was 
produced, and a second battle began over it. 

Flood moved, 4 That we hold ourselves bound not 
to enter into any engagements to give up the sole 
and exclusive right of Parliament to legislate for 
Ireland in all cases, externally, commercially, or 
internally.' On the top rank of fame once more, 
and first favourite of the populace, he treated the 
division of Saturday as equivalent to victory. He 
spoke in contemptuous pity of the supporters of 
Government who dared not show their true con- 
victions. He described them as hiding their heads in 
shame, but undertook to spare them the disgrace of 
further injuring their country's cause. 

Other orators followed in the stream of the popular 
frenzy. Then Fitzgibbon came to the front and 
took up Flood's challenge. 

4 The honourable member,' said he, 4 wishes to pass 
the resolution as a vindication of gentlemen on this 
side of the House who now hide their heads. For 
my part I never hid myself from any public question, 
nor ever will. The man who in office or out of office 
can stoop to hide from a public question is in my 

1 Saturday, August 13. 



book opinion a despicable man. I will never skulk from 
_ V * L any measure. If I approve it, I will support it like a 
llsmt man - If n °t> I will oppose it like a man. I repeat 
before the House, I repeat in the face of the nation, 
that the Bill brought in this night is highly advan- 
tageous to its commerce, and in no way incompatible 
with its free constitution. Gentlemen may triumph in 
their opposition to this Bill. I will defend it line by 
line and word by word. I will meet their whole 
array upon it. The clamour that has been raised is 
as unfounded and as little to be regarded as any that 
ever disturbed the deliberations of a wise assembly. 
In every session since 1779, when you obtained the 
colony trade, you recite the conditions on which you 
possess it — you recite the British tax and you enact 
it. What is the difference here? You are permitted 
to trade to every possession which Great Britain has, 
provided you adopt the laws by which she regulates 
her trade, provided you trade as British subjects 
trade. Every advantage which British subjects enjoy 
is offered to your acceptance. I call on every man 
living to tell me where there is an iota of difference. 
Therefore lefc no man talk to me of hiding my head. 
I support the Bill as highly advantageous to this 
country. The honourable gentleman says it is necessary 
to answer the resolutions of England by his resolution 
which he has read. Let me tell gentlemen it is not 
very prudent upon every occasion to come forward in 
terms of indignation against the sister kingdom, because 
we cannot exist one moment without her protection. 
Let me tell them here that it will not be perfectly 
prudent to rouse Great Britain. She is not easily 
roused, but if roused she is not easily appeased ; and 
in this, perhaps, lies the difference between the two 



kingdoms. Ireland is easily roused, but then she is chap. 
easily appeased. , I' 

4 You say you may go on as you are. You have *J 83 i| 
already a free trade, and that is all you want. You 
have indeed a right to trade, but without the assist- 
ance and protection of Great Britain you have not 
the means of trading with any nation on earth. 
There is not a single article in which you can trade 
without the assistance of England, and I desire by 
this Bill to secure her protection and assistance. 
When the people of this country are restored to 
their sober senses they will see it. The Bill for ever 
guarantees your linen trade, to promote which Eng- 
land taxes her own consumption 450,000/. yearly. 
On the German and Russian linens she lays a heavy 
duty, and is content to pay an advanced price for 
the Irish. Yet still the Russian and German manu- 
facturers can in some degree meet Ireland in the 
English market. If the duty was taken off they 
would beat her out of it altogether, and therefore I 
say she is a besotted nation if she seeks to quarrel 
with England. ' 

Clamours rose on all sides. Eager members started 
to their feet, declaring that Ireland was insulted. 
No one in that House should say that Ireland could 
not exist without England. 

Fitzgibbon continued : — 

' I am obliged for the opportunity of reflection, 
and I hope gentlemen who have been so hot on this 
occasion will reflect that the best manner in which I 
can show my sense of the obligation conferred on me 
is to repeat the words at which they have taken 
offence. I say if Ireland seeks to quarrel with Eng- 
land she is a besotted nation. I say she has not the 



book means of trading with any nation on earth without 
JS^L-, the assistance of Great Britain, and I wish every man 
II tst anc ^ ever y child through Ireland to hear me when I 
say it. I say Ireland cannot exist one hour without 
the support of Great Britain. When the people re- 
cover their senses, and awaken from the delusion and 
frenzy into which they have been misled, if the benefits 
of this Bill are then within their reach, they will grasp 
at them. In my mind we have taken a millstone from 
Mr. Pitt's neck and hung it about our own. 

C I love the Irish nation too well to insult her. 
Her solid interests are too near my heart, and there- 
fore I will not flatter her. When she forgets her 
real situation I will remind her of it. I never will 
insult her, but I will speak to her freely of her faults, 
because I have no interest in nattering her; and with- 
out regard to the gentleman's heat, or to his inter- 
ruption, to which I can listen with great coolness, I 
shall on all occasions freely deliver my opinions to 
this assembly.' 1 

Truer words had never been spoken in the Irish or 
any other Parliament, and in proportion to the truth 
of the language was Ireland's hatred of it. Curran 
insulted Fitzgibbon so grossly on his sitting down, 
that, according to the rides of the time, a duel had 
to follow. 2 In the division the Government majo- 
rity was reduced even lower than before, and the 

1 Irish Debates, August 15, 1785. hirn steadily ; perhaps to make sure 

2 The particulars of Curran's ex- of doing him no serious harm. He 
pressions are not preserved in the also missed, and then left the 
Debates. They were too discredit- ground. ' It was not your fault, 
able, both to him and to the House Mr. Attorney, if you missed me/ 
which endured them. In the held, Curran called after him. 1 You 
Curran fired first, and missed. Fitz- were deliberate enough.' 

gibbon was said to have aimed at 



Secretary announced that the Bill would not be pressed 

Ireland was of course in ecstasies. Out of every 
county came addresses of congratulation from the 
grand juries. Dublin was illuminated. Non-import- 
ation agreements — the now invariable resource when 
England was to be punished — were adopted univer- 
sally. The populace was so excited with alternate 
exultation and rage, that the peace of the city was 
only preserved by patrols of soldiers. The repres- 
sion of the national sentiment by these rude means 
was a fresh injury. The Duke of Rutland, on appear- 
ing in the theatre, was received with the Volunteers' 
March. He was mobbed on leaving it, and narrowly 
escaped personal injury. 





book The Irish Parliament was lashing itself into madness 
over ideal grievances. The peasantry caught the 
contagion, and burst into similar fury over grievances 
which unhappily were only too real. 

To escape the return of periodic rebellions. British 
authority had established in Ireland two institutions 
whose function was to control anarchy and to reclaim 
imorance. It had established a ruling; class and a 
teaching class, a landed gentry and a Protestant clergy 
of the Anglican Communion. 

The landlords had been endowed with the soil which 
had been taken forcibly from the natural owners. 
The clergy had passed into possession of the ancient 
estates of the Church of Ireland, and of the tithes, 
which, inasmuch as nine -tenths of the cultivators of 
the soil were either Catholics or Presbyterians, were 
wrung from the earnings of the poor of an alien faith, 
who were burdened besides with the maintenance of 
their own priests and ministers. The least that 
could have been expected from persons so favourably 
conditioned would have been an endeavour to fulfil 
the ends of their existence. The great persons of 
the Protestant laity and spiritualty had contended, 
with individual exceptions, in a dishonourable rivalry 


of neglect. The risings of the Whiteboys, the Oak CHAP. 
Boys, and the Hearts of Steel might have recalled 
the gentry to the memory of their obligations. They 1 ' s "' 
had used the resources of the Government to drive, 
these poor wretches into exile or submission; and 
while they were themselves agitating for what they 
called the liberties of their country, their own hand 
had grown daily more heavy over the victims of their 
oppression. Half-drowned already in extravagance, 
they had burdened more deeply their embarrassed 
estates in the Volunteer insanity. Their resource 
was to squeeze once more their miserable tenantry. 
In 1785 they had raised the rents of the potato 
gardens in the south and west to five and six pounds 
an acre. Their functions as magistrates were a jest. 
Duels were fought daily either by themselves or their 
sons under their eyes. Men and boys fought and 
killed each other, and there was no punishment. 
Young girls, children of the few industrious men 
of business who had saved money, were still carried 
off and ravished and forced into marriage. The 
magistrates looked on with folded hands, and gentle- 
men of conscience and honour were at length driven 
to form organizations of their own, independent of 
the law, to protect their families from these infernal 
outrages. 1 Their houses swarmed with younger 
brothers or cousins too proud to work, who called 
themselves gentlemen, and were entitled therefore to 

1 ' Ireland/" says Arthur Young-, off and ravished, in order, as they 

in 1776, 'is the only country in have generally fortunes, to gain the 

Europe where associations among appearance of a voluntary marriage, 

men of fortune are necessary for ap- These actions are not committed by 

prehending ravishers. It is scarcely the class I am describing, but they 

credible how many young women, are by them acquitted.' — Tour in 

even of late years, have been carried Ireland, vol. ii. 



BOOK shoot or be shot, 1 who spent their time loafing in the 
— ^— * stables or kennels, breaking horses, or gambling on 
17 So ' the racecourses, or lounging in the tawdry profusion 
of the family mansion or castle. Supported by these 
modern Kerne, the landlord of an estate inhabited by 
Catholics was a despot who knew no law but his own 
will. 2 Resistance he punished with a cane or a 
horsewhip. 4 The justices of the peace,' says Arthur 
Young, 1 are the very worst class in the kingdom. ' 
Lawless themselves, they had an affinity for their own 
kind. Offenders of all kinds found in them their 
natural protectors, and like the chiefs whom they 
succeeded they sheltered themselves from the ven- 
geance of their peasant tenants by the arm of their 
ruffian dependents. 

Had Grattan been a true friend of Ireland, instead 
of clamouring for an absurd independence, he would 
have set himself to recall the gentry of Ireland to a 
recollection of the word ' duty.' He would have 
appealed to the loyal and the worthy. He would 
have called on England to send back the absentees, 
and England could not have refused. Here was 
work for a very Hercules ; a labour worthy of a place 
beside the memorable twelve. To have achieved it 

1 1 A tradesman has not a right 
to the point of honour. You may 
refuse his challenge.' — Tour in 
Ireland, vol. ii. 

2 Sir Jonah Barrington tells an 
anecdote of an event in his own 
family, which he cannot be supposed 
to have invented. 'His grandmo- 
ther, an O'Brien, had an " antipathy " 
to a neighbour, a Mr. Dennis Bod- 
kin. One day, at the midday dinner, 
she launched into abuse of Dennis, 
concluding that "she wished the 
fellow's ears were cut off." At 

supper that evening the old butler, 
Ned llegan, laid a snuffbox on the 
table before his mistress. She 
opened it, and there dropped out a 
pair of bloody ears. On a cry of 
horror rising, llegan said coolly, 
" Sure, my lady, you wished Den- 
nis Bodkin's ears were cut off, so I 
told old Gahagan, the gamekeeper, 
and he took a few boys with him, 
and brought them back, and I hope 
you are plased, my lady." ' — Me- 
moirs of My Own Time, vol. i. 
p. 46. 



would have been to have achieved an enterprise fit to chap. 
be written in letters of gold in the annals of the three . _ n ' 
kingdoms. But far from Grattan was a desire to 1785 - 
heal the real sores of the country for which he was so 
zealous. These wild disordered elements suited better 
for the campaign in which he engaged of renovating 
an Irish nationality. He let the landlords alone. 
He set himself to assail the second institution which 
England had planted at an enormous expense, and 
like an unthrifty husbandman had left to its fortunes. 

The sarcasm of Dean Swift on the constitution of 
the Episcopal Bench of Ireland was, perhaps, sharp- 
ened by his own exclusion from it, and by the 
political opinions of the rivals who were promoted 
over his head. Proper persons, he says, were ap- 
pointed by the Government, but on crossing Houn- 
slow Heath, on their way to Dublin, they were uni- 
formly murdered by highwaymen, who stole their 
letters patent, went over and were consecrated in 
their places. Even Swift would have allowed that 
King and Berkeley and Synge had done honour to 
the communion to which they belonged. But as the 
serious spirit of the seventeenth century died away 
the Church of Ireland lost the energy which once 
undoubtedly belonged to it. For an Archbishop 
Boulter there was an Archbishop Stone, and Stone 
was unfortunately only the most developed type of 
the prelates who surrounded and succeeded him. 
The Irish sees were wealthy. The rise in the price 
of land had quadrupled, in many instances far more 
than quadrupled, the value of the old estates of the 
Church. They became thus objects of ambition to 
the relatives of English politicians, and were made 
the reward of political support. The Bishop of Deny 




book was a specimen, if a violent one, of the class of persons 
- to Avhom it pleased the rulers of England to entrust 
1/8a * the spiritual charge of the most critical department 
of the empire. The rich livings were given away on 
the same principle either by the Crown or by private 
patrons. Indefinite pluralities were permitted to 
those who were so happy as to possess influence at 
Court, and the absenteeism of landlords was imitated 
by wealthy Irish incumbents who preferred a wider 
held of usefulness in preaching to the fashionable 
congregations of London and Bath. 1 The Church of 
Ireland,' said Curran, in the House of Commons, 1 
4 has been in the hands of strangers advanced to the 
mitre, not for their virtues or their knowledge, but 
quartered on this country through their own servility 
or the caprice of their benefactors, and inclined 
naturally to oppress us, to hate us, and to defame us. 7 
The practical work of the Protestant religion so far 
as it was done at all was left to native clergy of Irish 
birth, the smaller incumbents whose benefices were 
too trifling to be a temptation, or by curates who 
discharged the indispensable duties for a pittance of 
40?. or 501. a year ; and although of poor rectors and 
poor curates there was generally an honourable report, 
it was an expectation more sanguine than practical 
that by such means Catholic Ireland could be 

The first conspicuous and monstrous failure was in 
the Charter Schools, founded by men of piety and 
intelligence. The Charter Schools were the best- 
conceived educational institutions which existed in the 
world. They were recommended annually to Par- 

1 February 19, 1787. 



liament in the speech from the throne, and Parliament chap. 
had responded liberally by raising its grants from U ' . 
2,000/. to 20,000/. a year. Yet, after the first few 
years, the number of the boarding-schools was not in- 
creased. The affiliated day-schools disappeared. 
The stagnation was assigned to the opposition of the 
priests. An examination of the state of the schools 
in 1787 showed that little inducement remained to 
tempt the peasantry to resist the priests' warnings 
against them. 

The principle of the institution was industrial edu- 
cation, with the Church Catechism as its base. A 
farm was attached to each establishment for practical 
instruction in agriculture. Trades of all kinds were, 
in theory, carried on within the walls. The children 
were to weave their own clothes. The flax, out of 
which they made their shirts and shifts, was to be 
sown by themselves. The sheep which furnished the 
wool for their coats and petticoats were to be fed and 
sheared by their own hands. They were taught to 
raise their own food and prepare and dress it. They 
were furnished with knowledge and skill to enable 
them to lead useful lives. When their school teaching 
was finished they were apprenticed at the cost of the 
society, and when they had served their time they 
received further assistance to start them in life. 

Ingenuity could have devised no better gift to 
impoverished Ireland than a school of this kind 
in every barony. Such was the intention of the 
founders, and care and honesty might with ease 
have made the intention into act. For care and 
honesty there was only neglect and jobbing, and 
therefore it was not carried into act. Institutions are 
nothing without efficient men to work them. The wreck 




book of trade and the disorganisation of labour destroyed 
_ v r n ' -^ the apprentice system. The master and mistress 
1785 * jDlundered the funds, starved the children, and made 
the industrial system an excuse for using the pupils 
as slaves to fill their own pockets. In a country 
where, from highest to lowest, forgetfulness of duty 
was the rule of life, the managers of schools were not 
likely to be an exception. They only did what they 
saw all others doing. They took their level of obli- 
gation from the scale generally acted on. The Eng- 
lish ministers appropriated the Irish offices of state 
to their English political supporters. The Viceroy 
appropriated the Irish revenues to bribe the patriots. 
Members of Parliament jobbed the taxes. Country 
gentlemen jobbed the county cesses, and all alike 
combined to plunder the poor. In such an atmos- 
phere a generous conception like that of the Charter 
Schools could only wither like the rest. 

But the responsibility and therefore the blame 
rested with the bishops. They were the trustees. 
Their business it was to visit, to correct, to report 
if necessary to Parliament, to remove incompetent 
officers. They held that they discharged their obli- 
gations sufficiently by mouthing sonorous platitudes 
in the House of Lords, and by preaching occasional 
sermons, while they divided their time between 
their Irish palaces, or their London houses, varied 
■with crusades in the House of Lords against a relaxa- 
tion of Dissenters' disabilities. 

The bishops, like the Olympian gods, were set too 
high above the storms of inferior life to be assailed 
easily, either in their dignity or their income. The 
rank and file of the clergy were more accessible, and 
were more immediately objects of provocation. The 



bishops drew their incomes from land, with which they cm \\ 
were only connected through their agents. The rectors > . ^ - 
and vicars depended upon tithes, and on tithes which 1785 * 
were raised in the north from Presbyterians, and in 
the rest of the island from Catholics. The thin at- 
tendance at the churches contrasted painfully with 
the crowds which thronged the chapels. In some 
districts the congregations had dwindled to nothing. 
They could not be expected to reside when there was 
no work for them to do. As the absentee landlord 
had his middleman, the absentee incumbent had his 
tithe farmer and tithe proctor, perhaps of all the 
carrion birds who were preying on the carcase of 
the Irish peasantry the vilest and most accursed. In 
his origin the tithe proctor was a parish officer, ap- 
pointed and paid by the people, at a time when they 
were on a less painful footing with the Protestant 
clergyman, to compound with him for his general 
dues. As the century waned and life grew more 
extravagant, the tithe proctor, like his neighbours, 
became more grasping and avaricious. He exacted 
from the peasants the full pound of flesh. His trade 
was dangerous, and therefore he required to be highly 
paid. He handed to his employer perhaps half what 
he collected. He fleeced the flock and he fleeced their 
shepherd. 4 The use of the tithe farmer,' said Grat- 
tan, 4 is to get from the parishioners what the clergy- 
man would be ashamed to demand, and to enable the 
clergyman to absent himself from duty. His liveli- 
hood is extortion. He is a wolf left by the shepherd 
to take care of the flock in his absence.' 

There were gradations of them, as with the mid- 
dlemen, one below the other. A tithe farmer in 
active practice of his profession held of another 



book who lield of a proctor, who held of a clergyman 
— y* 1 — who did not reside. He pursued his calling in a 
' parish where there was neither dean, rector, vicar, 
nor schoolmaster; often he was an officer of the 
revenue besides, and would arrange his demands for 
his own advantage, overcharging the tithes and 
pocketing the surplus, and compensating the tithe- 
payer by undercharging his taxes. Like the Roman 
usurers in the early days of the Republic, he took his 
payments in the form of interest-bearing bonds, and 
when the bonds fell due the peasants became his 
slaves and ploughed his soil and carried his crops 
for him with their own carts and horses, to escape 

The burden was the more cruel because the poor 
were his only victims. The wealthy Protestant 
grass farmers ought to have been the first to bear 
the expense of the Protestant Church. They paid 
nothing at all. The cost of the Establishment fell in 
the south exclusively on the poorest of the Catholic 
tenantry. The Munster cottier paid 11. a year for 
his cabin and an acre of potato ground. The landlord 
took his rent from him in labour, at bd. or Qd. a 
day; the tithe farmer took from 12s. to 20s. from 
him besides, and took in addition from the very peat 
which he dug from the bog a tithe called in mockery 
4 smoke money.' 

These abominable extortions furnished a tempting 
opportunity to the apostles of anarchy. Patient 
themselves and naturally silent under suffering, the 
Irish peasants were ready instruments in the hands 
of scoundrels who played upon their real wrongs, 
to excite them to political insubordination. The 
Dublin and Belfast incendiaries were enraged at the 


4;> 5 

threat of the suppression of the Volunteers, and created chap. 
a division by kindling an agrarian insurrection in - 
Munster. After fifteen years of quiet the Whiteboys 17s,; ' 
reappeared in the spring and summer of 178G. 

The movement began in Kerry. The inhabitants 
of a couple of parishes met in a Catholic chapel, 
and took an oath to pay no more than a specified 
sum to the clergyman or his agent. They went, 
on successive Sundays, from chapel to chapel, swear- 
ing in the people everywhere, and binding them to 
obey at all times and occasions a phantom leader, 
Captain Right. The oath was generally taken with 
willingness ; anyone who dared to refuse was dragged 
from his bed at midnight ; his ears were sawn off, and 
he was flung into a pit lined with thorns, or set naked 
on horseback on a thorn saddle. 1 By these means 
Captain Right soon had all Munster at his obedience. 
His army was scattered everywhere, appearing in 
daylight as harmless peasants, in the night as so 
many fiends. His first order was to disarm the Pro- 
testants in the province. Midnight gangs appeared 
at every Protestant door, and with as much violence 
as might be necessary ' thoroughly carried the order 
into execution.' 2 The next step was to establish a 
system of finance. Regular contributions were levied 
to support Captain Right's government. The White- 
boy authority being thus well established, the war 
with the tithe proctors commenced. The sentence 
on them was as the measure of their guilt. If they 
had been definitely cruel they were condemned to 
die, and the sentence was promptly executed. If 

1 ' Speech of Mr. Fitzgibbon/ — University, January 18, 1785.' — 
Irish Debates, January SI, 1787. Ibid. 

2 ' Speech of Mr. Brown, of the 



book their offences had been only moderate they were 
^i?'— > '-carded] that is to say they were stripped naked 
1786 ' and tied with their faces downwards, while a strong 

tom-cat was dragged np and down their backs by the 


The tithe proctor knew the danger of his profession 
when he entered it, and charged for the risk in his 
bill. But the vengeance did not rest in punishing the 
instrument of tyranny, and fell in its blind fury 
upon others who were wholly innocent. The curate 
had not injured the people whom the pluralist or 
absentee rector had hired at a servant's stipend. 
Of him the most eloquent declaimers on the wrongs 
of Ireland could find nothing to say but what was 
good. He had prayers in his church twice a day. 1 
He baptised the children, married the adults, visited 
the sick, and buried the dead. He was a scholar and 
a gentleman, saved perhaps by poverty from follow- 
ing the general road of worthlessness. Except for 
the poorer clergy the Church of Ireland must have 
perished of corruption before the century closed. So 
far as their means extended they had been dis- 
tinguished for kindness and liberality. But they 
were the symbols of a tyrannical system ; they were 
defenceless, they were at hand, and they were Pro- 
testant ministers, and this was enough for their 
condemnation. The landlords with peculiar base- 
ness refused to exert themselves in their defence. 
6 Men of the purest and most inoffensive man- 
ners were torn from their beds at midnight. 
Their wives and children were driven naked out of 
doors, themselves rolled on dunghills, and hardly 

1 So Grattan seems to say — 1 See morning" prayer. He leaves com- 
the curate. He rises at six to pany at six for evening prayer.' 



suffered to escape with life.' 1 Lord Luttrell said in chap. 

Parliament that a friend of his riding one morning . 

out of Carlingford overtook a clergyman who seemed 
in pain, with his head bound in a napkin. He asked 
if anything was the matter. ' Did you not see, sir,' 
said the poor wretch, 'as you rode through the town 
two ears and a cheek nailed to a post? They torn 
mine. 7 2 

Throughout the south the churches were deserted. 
The clergy were flying from their glebe -houses to the 
cities, forced to leave their duties by Captain Eight 
and his followers. Could an example have been made 
of the non-resident rectors, who were gathering ad- 
miring circles round them at the Bath tea-tables, the 
atrocity would have been relieved by the sense that 
justice was being done, however rudely. Irony could 
not have selected less appropriate victims than the 
curates and their families. 

1 < Speech of Mr. Secretary Orde,' 2 'Speech of Lord Luttrell.'— 
March 29, 1786.— Irish Debates. Ibid. 




book The Constitution of '82 had been the opening of the 
— r-^ box of Pandora. Everyone who was starving ex- 
178G * pected to be filled, everyone who had been wronged 
to have his wrongs redressed, everyone who was 
robbing his neighbour to keep his spoils and escape 
punishment. Jack Cade's promises were moderate 
compared to what Irishmen of every degree were 
looking for as the fruit of that glorious victory. The 
descendants of the Irish chiefs, among the rest, had 
dreamt of a good day coming to them, and as the 
good day was slow in appearing they took the matter 
into their own hands. 

In the winter of 1785-6 Mr. Roderick O'Connor, 
calling himself the representative of the old Kings of 
Connaught, entered forcibly on the lands of his an- 
cestors in Roscommon. He established himself in a 
fastness in the midst of bog and mountain. He had a 
cannon at his door and a thousand men scattered 
within sound of it ready to assemble at its call. The 
peasants gathered about him with idolatrous devotion. 
Notices were served on the intruding landowners 
to be gone at their peril. Coupled with the reap- 
pearance of the Whiteboys, Mr. O'Connor's pro- 
ceeding was a startling surprise, and Parliament met 
in January somewhat sobered after the orgies of the 
past session. 

The English Cabinet had decided to make no im- 
mediate offer of another commercial treaty, but to 
leave the Irish time to recover their senses. The 




question of pressing importance was now the peace of OHAP 
the country. In the absence of a police, and with a 
local magistracy incapable or unwilling to act, the 
repression of crime was cast exclusively on the Eng- 
lish army, which was thus in perpetual collision with 
the people. The Volunteers had degenerated into 
an armed mob. In the disturbed districts their 
arms had passed surreptitiously into the hands of the 
Whiteboys. The southern province was covered with 
incendiaries, equipped with muskets, pikes, and pis- 
tols, while the Protestants had been carefully stripped 
of every weapon which they possessed. If authority 
was to reassert itself, the choice lay only between a 
militia and an organized constabulary. 

The attempt to establish a militia had failed. The 
Cabinet, still dreaming of conciliation, were unwil- 
ling to renew a proposal which involved the disarming 
of the Volunteers. Thev had discovered on second 
thoughts that a militia must necessarily be Protes- 
tant, that the Catholics would be alarmed and 
offended, and that it was 4 extremely unadvisable to 
irritate and mortify them;' while to suppress the 
Volunteers by force was serious and hazardous, and 
it seemed more prudent to leave them to decline by 
themselves. 1 The choice fell, therefore, on a consta- 
bulary, if the consent of Parliament could be ob- 
tained for it, and the Viceroy was instructed to feel 
his way with tentative and partial advances. 

To conciliate Irish disaffection was as hopeful a 
project as to conciliate the plague. To save imme- 
diate trouble the Cabinet persuaded themselves that 

1 Cabinet despatch to the Duke of Rutland, January 7, 178G. Most 



book although, conciliation had failed a thousand times it 
VII . 

. — might succeed on the thousand and first. Rutland 
January a g ree d that if they desired c to avoid measures calcu- 
lated to stir political passions ' they must leave the 
Volunteers alone ; the ugly feature in the leaving 
them alone, however, being that when a corps dis- 
solved the arms were not given up, ' but remained in 
the hands of the rabble of the country.' 1 

Parliament opened calmly, as if alive to the seri- 
ousness of the situation, and addressed itself to the 
duties which were waiting for it. Flood was in Eng- 
land. Many of the Opposition members had re- 
mained in the country, expecting that the session 
would be unpropitious to them. Party politics 
being for the moment at rest, the attention of the 
House of Commons was drawn naturally to the va- 
rious forms in which anarchy was showing itself. 
Roderick O'Connor must be taken in hand, or the 
example would spread. Mr. Ogle, of Wexford, en- 
quired why the Gazette was full every day of accounts 
of ravished women ? The Grand Jury of Dublin 
petitioned againft the multitudes of whiskey shops, 
4 hellish dens ' where the artisans were driven to mad- 

Lord Luttrell said it was an insult to the under- 
standing to talk of industry to a nation which had 
been drunk for a hundred years. Monk Mason en- 
quired how gentlemen intended to stop drinking, when 
twelve or fifteen hundred private stills were at full 
work, protected and encouraged by the landlords on 
their own properties? The blame was thrown of 
course on the Government. 

Fitzgibbon, speaking the truth always, however 

1 ' The Duke of Rutland to Lord Sydney, January 29. Secret.' 



unpalatable it might be, told the House 4 that the CHAP, 
disorders of Ireland were traceable, not to Govern- S ~ 17 8G ~^ 
ment, but to the supineness of the country gentle- February, 
men. Government ought never to interfere save 
when the ordinary means of keeping the peace had 
been tried and found ineffectual. The Irish gentry, 
when any act of violence occurred, folded their hands 
and applied to the Castle for a guard of soldiers.' 

These preliminary debates were comparatively 
rational. The Duke congratulated himself on the 
recovered sanity of a now thoughtful and prudent 
Legislature. L Scarce a troubled wave,' he said, ' ap- 
peared on the political surface.' 1 The Duke was 
prematurely sanguine. The state of the South re- 
quired remedies more active than words. The Ca- 
tholic bands having disarmed the Protestants, were 
grown so daring as to attack the soldiers. A party 
of the 20th Infantry, who were conducting a convoy 
of stores into Cork, were surprised on the road by a 
party of Whiteboys. They drove the assailants 
off at last, but only after a sharp skirmish. The 
obvious and immediately necessary remedy was to 
hunt down and disarm these dangerous ruffians, but 
the magic shield of the defenders of Irish liberty was 
extended even over the Whiteboys. 4 The Catholics 
being in possession of arms,' the Duke said, ( was a 
principle which struck at the vitals of the State. Yet 
every combination of men with arms was so entangled 
with the Volunteer system that to interfere anywhere 
directly and avowedly raised a stir in the entire 

If Ireland was not to relapse into the anarchy of 
the sixteenth century, a police of some kind was 

1 1 Duke of Rutland to Lord Sydney; February 27. Secret.' 



book imperatively necessary, but a police in the imagina- 

. tion of the patriots was only a militia in disguise. 

February Fitzgibbon had given notice of his intention to 
introduce a Bill for the purpose. The patriots deter- 
mined to oppose it ; and to give time for their scat- 
tered forces to rally, Mr. Forbes, 1 in Flood's absence, 
brought on a preliminary skirmish on the old griev- 
ance of the Pension List. A scandal the Pension 
List had always been. Under the new Constitution 
corruption had increased, for the Lords and Commons 
had larger powers of giving trouble. This only was 
to be said in defence of so large a misappropriation of 
the Irish revenue, that to the general expenses of the 
empire Ireland contributed nothing. She had refused 
passionately to pay what she called tribute to the 
navy which protected her commerce. In the Pension 
List she was receiving, as a bribe to herself, a portion 
of what ought to have been employed for more ho- 
nourable purposes, to prevent her Constitution from 
becoming such a nuisance that at all risks it must have 
been broken into pieces. 2 The principle was less at 
fault than the application. If some pensions might 
be applied with a show of reason to silence parties 
in the Irish House of Commons, there were others 
which were still given as the reward of services 
which would not bear publicity. The entire Irish list 
amounted now to a hundred thousand pounds a year, 
and as Curran said — 

1 Member for Rat oath, in Meath. year into the Imperial treasury, as 

2 Arthur Young has some judi- a final composition for the Pension 
cious remarks on the Pension List. List and the cost of her military 
Lord Shelburne, he says, once sug- establishment. But any such ar- 
gested to him that Ireland might rangement would have made her 
make a good bargain for herself if tributary. 

she would consent to pay 7 00,000/. a 



6 This polyglot of wealth, this museum of curiosi- CHAp 
ties, the Pension List, embraces every link in the IL 
human chain, every description of men, women, and L786. 
children, from the exalted excellence of a Hawke or Mar ° ' 
a Rodney to the debased situation of the lady that 
humbleth herself that she may be exalted.' 

Such a blot on the escutcheon was an easy target 
for patriotic oratory. Mr. Forbes complained that 
the Irish pensions now exceeded the English. They 
were granted to overturn the independence of Parlia- 
ment. Men were but men, and while ministers 
bribed, members of Parliament would be bribed. 
Grattan wound up a passionate speech by saying 
1 that if he should affirm that the Pension List was 
not a grievance, he would affirm in the lace of his 
country an impudent, insolent, and public lie.' It 
occurred neither to Forbes nor Grattan that the real 
mischief lay in conferring free institutions on a people 
who were confessedly liable to corrupt influences, 
and that if the members of the Irish Parliament had 
not been bribed by the ministers, they would have 
sold their votes to parties or purposes in methods 
more injurious to the State. 

Scorning alike the bait which governed the move- 
ments of Irish politicians and the politicians themselves 
who railed at the system till their own turn came to 
be fed, Fitzgibbon flung the baseness which made cor- 
ruption necessary in the teeth of those who were 
clamouring at it. 1 Let me,' he said, ' ask gentlemen 
who exclaim so loudly against pensions, is there no 
man among them who has ever thought his own 
services deserving a pension ? Xo. Xot one. Is 
there no man who would accept a pension? No. Xot 



book one. Was there a man of the 110 1 who would ac- 
_ V T IL _.^ cept a pension ? No. Not one. When that Bill 
March which threatened us with wealth and commerce was 
introduced was there a man of the said 110 that 
offered to desert for a pension ? No. Not one. Is 
there now a person among them that would come 
over and vote with us for a pension ? Not one, I 
am certain. And therefore when gentlemen speak 
against the folly and wickedness of bestowing pen- 
sions on members of Parliament, I am convinced they 
speak the genuine sentiments of their minds.' 2 

The Attorney- General's language, however sarcas- 
tically true, was not conciliatory. Forbes pressed his 
division, and though he was beaten, the large numbers 
who voted on both sides 3 showed that the patriots had 
by this time rallied to their posts. 

The vital question of the Police Bill now came 
on to try many things ; among them to try Mr. 
Grattan's title to the name of a statesman. The Bill 
in itself was a small matter. If successful, the design 
was to extend its provisions, but for the present it 
applied only to Dublin, where the House of Commons 
had been half a dozen times invaded by the mob; 
where a tarring and feathering committee had main- 
tained a reign of terror of six months ; where the 
newspapers openly preached assassination, and where 
an Act of Parliament had been necessary to prevent 
enthusiastic patriots from slicing the tendons of Bri- 
tish soldiers straying in the streets. In Dublin, if 
nowhere else, Parliament might be expected to agree 
to the necessity of a more efficient protection of the 

1 The minority which voted 
against the commercial proposi- 

2 Irish Debates, March 13 ; 1786. 

3 134 to 78. 



peace. The mayor and aldermen of the city of late chap. 

years had been uniformly found wanting. The Attor- ». , - 

ney -General's Bill superseded their authority ; it ap- 
pointed instead seven paid magistrates to take the 
control of the local watchmen, and provided besides 
forty petty constables, mounted or on foot as need 
might require, with power to enter and search houses 
where there was reason to believe arms to be con- 

To repress savagery, to prevent armed ruffians 
from terrorising over quiet citizens, is the first condi- 
tion demanded of a Government which deserves the 
name. A country where girls might be ravished, 
soldiers hamstrung, and statesmen who objected to 
such proceedings held up as marks for assassins' 
poignards, was unfit for the habitation of human 
beings. Mr. Grattan, beyond all men, ought to 
have welcomed such a Bill, being himself responsible 
for the Constitution, and insisting, as he had 
always insisted, that Ireland had only to be made free 
to show herself worthy of freedom. Mr. Grattan 
estimated his duty differently. A state of anarchy 
had forwarded so materially Ireland's aspirations 
after emancipation, that he regarded measures for the 
preservation of order as an assault upon the national 
independence. The Bill was no sooner introduced 
than he declaimed against the two score constables 
as an army in disguise, and the measure itself as 
a covert attack on the Volunteers. He declared 
peremptorily that he would obstruct it at every turn. 

Fitzgibbon, who was earnestly anxious to get his 
Bill through, at first quietly remonstrated. After the 
riots which had disgraced Dublin, he said that he had 
not anticipated that the establishment of a police would 






book be objected to. A prisoner could not be taken through 
IJL^ the streets without a guard of soldiers. The House of 
Commons had been taken by storm, and the mayor, 
though he had notice of the intended riot, had de- 
clared himself unable to prevent it. There was not a 
drunken weaver in the city who had not arms con- 
cealed in his house. In the South the muskets of the 
Volunteers were in the hands of the Catholic rabble. 
The Bill, so far from being dangerous to liberty, was 
necessary for the protection of liberty, and he ex- 
pressed a wish and hope to see a police established 
universally throughout the island. 1 

The opposition to the first reading, though loud 
and passionate, was not pressed to a division. When 
the Bill was brought on a second time, the battle 
began in earnest. 

£ We are to have, then/ said Grattan, 4 a mercenary 
army paid by the Ministers, and differing only from 
the military because they will come to those meetings 
from which the soldiers with decency would retire. 
You knew the indignation of the House would be 
roused had you avowed the principles of your tumul- 
tuous army, your mercenary army, your ministerial 
army, which you have tricked into your Bill in 
disguise. You destroy the ancient charter of our 
city. You introduce a Bill to debauch her magis- 
trates and dragoon her subjects.' 

4 The clause, 7 said another speaker, ' which em- 
powers the police to enter private houses to search for 
arms abolishes Magna Charta. If a man break into 
my house under this clause, and invade my privacy, I 
will meet him with Magna Charta in one hand and an 

1 Irish Debates, March 22. 



instrument of death in the other. I declare before CHAP, 
the living God no man shall enforce that clause in a > — 
house where I am master. One of us shall fall.' i:: V 


The city came to the aid of her Parliamentary 
chiefs. Patriot actors thundered from a hundred 
platforms on the insidious design of introducing ar- 
bitrary power. The Corporation petitioned to be 
heard in opposition at the bar. A Whiteboy com- 
mittee might enter the curate's house, and the friends 
of liberty saw nothing but a brave assertion of the 
indefeasible rights of man. For the police to enter 
the houses of conspirators and assassins was an out- 
rage too intolerable to be endured. A motion was 
brought in to admit the Corporation's petition. Fitz- 
gibbon rose to speak again, and this time not in a 
gentle mood. 

1 If an argument was wanting,' he said, 4 to prove the 
necessity of the Bill, it is the frequency of these tumul- 
tuous assemblies called aggregate meetings, assembled 
by persons inimical to it, because it will restrain 
licentiousness and teach these worthy constitutional 
citizens to respect the laws of their country. They 
tell us they behold, with the deepest concern, the 
introduction of a Police Bill ! I doubt it not. If 
passed into law, it will give additional influence to the 
Crown! I doubt it not. They think that it will 
prevent an opposition to the law, that it will preserve 
the public peace, and that there will be an end to 
that branch of the police the tarring and feathering 
committee. There will be an end to that worshipful 
company of glass-blowers, ruffians hired and paid by 
those worthy constitutional gentlemen, to drag from 
his habitation any citizen that refuses to take such 
oaths as they are pleased to administer, or who is 

H H 2 



book suspected of a due regard to the laws of his country, 
— and torment them with whipping and other marks of 
March" ignominy. Therefore I doubt not the plan of a 
regular police has greatly alarmed the worthy gentle- 
men who promote these meetings, as it will end that 
kind of opposition which they are ready always to 
give to the law. The petitioners desire to be heard 
by themselves or their counsel. I would rather hear 
themselves if I were to consider only my private 
amusement. The constitutional doctrines which I 
should hear would amply compensate my attention. 
For this House I have too much respect to consent 
that it be impeded in carrying on the national 
business.' 1 

Forbes started up in fury to enquire if the Attorney- 
General meant to arrest the High Sheriff who had 
signed the petition? Grattan said the speech to 
which he had listened was a lampoon on the city. 
Mr. Brownlow was frightened at the disrespect 
which Fitzgibbon was showing to the Corporation. 
Fitzgibbon knew what he was doing. Irish sedition 
was dangerous only to those who were afraid of 
it. The petition was refused admission. The Bill 
itself was passed. Mr. Orde, who took part in the 
debate, thus reported the result : — 

' We have carried our Police Bill for Dublin, which 
we may by and by extend to the country. Mr. 
Grattan thought fit very hastily to risk the trial of 
his ascendency, and with most earnest solicitude at- 
tempted to create alarm. His success was so very 
bad, and so contrary to his expectation, that he 
appeared much mortified, and was at length entirely 

1 Irish Debates, March 25, 178G. 



silenced by the Attorney-General, who rebuked him chap. 
for the petulance and weakness of his opposition with - — — - 
much dignity.' » JJf 

The defeat disheartened the Opposition for the re- 
mainder of the session. The new police were estab- 
lished in Dublin, and pending further measures in the 
same direction the Secretary introduced a Bill for the 
better protection of the clergy in the South. Nothing 
effective, however, was really possible without more 
vigorous action than the Administration could as yet 
venture upon. Mr. Rowley, M.P. for Meath, a Right 
Honourable and a person of some distinction, proposed 
that after the word clergy should be read 1 and all 
other persons.' Orde enquired if this was meant as 
a jest? The clergy were weak, and were generally 
strangers to the country in which they were resident. 
The landlords, if it was to them that Mr. Rowley 
referred, were the parties themselves most to blame. 
The resident gentry, to their disgrace and shame, 
refused to give the clergy any help, in the hope that 
tithes might be abolished. Mr. Ogle (himself a large 
landowner), replying to the charge against the 
clergy of extortion, insisted that ' the great extor- 
tioners were the landowners themselves.' * There 
was hardly an estate which was not let to the highest 
penny or above its value.' 1 The tenant felt the op- 
pression, and not knowing where to turn for relief, 
fell on the clergy as the weakest and least protected.' 

On the other hand, the abuses from pluralist and 
absentee rectors were really flagrant and enormous. 
To pass a law which would assist the tithe-proctors 
was to perpetuate a frightful evil ; and even Fitz- 

1 < To Evan Nepean, March 00, 178G. Most private.' 





book gibbon, who hated injustice as heartily as Grattan, was 
obliged to withhold his consent from the Government 
proposal. He had himself, he said, known a hundred 
and twenty processes for tithes to be going on at once 
in the county of Limerick against poor Catholic 
peasants. The clergy, he said, must be provided for 
by some less oppressive means. The tithes must be 
commuted into a charge upon the lands, and pending 
further consideration he advised that the present Bill 
should be withdrawn. 

Fitzgibbon was right in principle. The Secretary 
consented, and the session ended; yet the effect was 
to leave the clergy exposed for another season to the 
Whiteboys' devilry. These gentry had been prudently 
quiet while Parliament was sitting. The prorogation 
was a signal that their victims were again in their 
hands, and the failure of the Protection Act was 
taken as a confession that justice was on their side. 
Notices were posted on church and chapel doors, 
limiting the tithes which the peasantry were allowed 
to pay, and under pretence of impartiality they con- 
nected with tithes the dues of the priests. 1 Threaten- 
ing letters were addressed to the country gentlemen, 
written evidently by men of education and ability. 
The war was carried on with a regularity of move- 
ment and purpose which showed that it was guided 
by organised authority. The few prisoners occa- 
sionally taken refused, as usual, to betray their 
leaders. They pleaded that strangers had come to 
them at night, and had sworn them to their work 

1 ' The manner in which the persuaded, intended to conceal their 

insurgents have connected in the real drift. — The Duke of Eutland 

general attack the Popish priests to Lord Sydney, August 1786.' 
with the Protestant clergy is, I am 



with the most horrible threats if they disobeyed ; chap. 
while 4 too many of the gentry and wealthy farmers, > — 
looking to their immediate interest in the reduction 

o August. 

of tithes, if they did not encourage the AVliiteboys, 
declined to take part against them.' 4 It was strange/ 
as Lord Sydney observed, 4 that they should not 
understand that by destroying the provision for the 
Protestant clergy they were endangering the stability 
of the Protestant interest/ 1 

So very serious was the aspect of Munster by the 
middle of the summer, that the Viceroy even thought 
of re-assembling Parliament. His special fear was 
that the movement against tithes should extend to 
Ulster, and produce the union between Protestant 
Dissenters and Catholics which the madness of 
ecclesiastical legislation had made a too formidable 
probability. 2 The Privy Council would give no ad- 
vice. The Viceroy had no force to rely upon but the 
British regiments, and to employ British soldiers as 
policemen was to intensify the animosity between 
the two countries and to raise the "W niteboys into a 
patriot army. The outrages at length became so 
appalling that Lord Luttrell was sent down with a 
detachment of troops to see what he could do. His 
difficulty was to discover his enemy. The WMtebbya 
were everywhere and nowhere. The car driver on 
the road, or the peasant digging potatoes in the field 
at its side, the shopman behind the village counter, or 
the trusted servant in the mansion or parsonage, were 
the same men who at night were carding tithe -proc- 
tors and banishing sleep from the bedsides of the 
clergy and their families. Prisoners were taken only 

1 ' Lord Sydney to the Duke of Rutland, September 6, 1786.' 
- 1 Rutland to Sydney, August 1786/ 



book to be dismissed for want of evidence. 4 The °;entle- 


— men and farmers/ reported Luttrell, ' everywhere 

1 1RC 

August. snow a singular sympathy with them. Petty juries 
will not convict. Grand juries are strangely 
apathetic, and willing to receive the Whiteboys' 
petitions.' 1 

The spell was broken at last, by the same means 
which had ended the tarring; and feathering in Dublin. 
Lord Tyrone had arrested a couple of Whiteboys 
in Waterford, and by great exertion had obtained evi- 
dence to compel their conviction. Their offence was 
not capital. One was sentenced to be imprisoned, the 
other to be publicly flogged. 

In a wholesome state of society neglect of duty 
would be punished as severely as crime. The com- 
missioned officer who deserts his post or allows those 
under him to fall into disorder by want of discipline 
is justly cashiered. The absentee landlords and clergy 
who drove the peasants mad by extortion, and gave 
them guidance in return neither for body nor soul, 
deserved probably, in nature's court of equity, a 
place at the cart's tail by the Whiteboy's side. 
The people were wronged. The law gave them no 
redress; and when they attempted wild justice for 
themselves, they were handed over to the executioner. 
An unequal balance always yields an unsound re- 
sult; and if justice cannot be distributed evenly — if 
the whip or gallows are reserved for the poor offender, 
while the rich is left to his fine houses and three 
courses a day- — the social wound remains unhealed. 
In proportion as the resentment of the favoured 
section of society is strong against the rude redressors 

1 < Report of General Lord Luttrell, September 21, 1786.' S.P.O. 



! of general injuries, so among their fellow sufferers the chap. 
general sympathy will be on their side, and will regard > — ci- 
thern as soldiers suffering for a popular cause. No sJpLmte 
State, however, can permit the wild justice to con- 

, tinue which never strikes the true criminals. Harmless 
curates and their wives could not be allowed to be 
torn from their beds, sliced with knives, or torn with 
briars. Whiteboyism had to be put down. The 
convicted Whiteboy was therefore to be flogged. 
But who was to inflict the flooWi o- ? The common 
officers refused, though with loss of place and salary. 
High rewards were offered. The debtors' prison was 
searched for some one who would do the work in 
return for liberty. Not a man could be found. The 
High Sheriff was the person responsible for the exe- 
cution of the sentence. 1 He determined that the law 
should not become a jest ; and, since none else would 
do it, he himself with his own hand flogged the pri- 
soner through the streets of Waterford. 

The effect was once more instantaneous. The reign 
of terror was over. Timid lords and gentlemen took 
courage from Musgrave's example. Well-meaning 
farmers and peasants, seeing that they might count 
upon protection, came forward with information. 
Lord Kenmare, though himself a Catholic, hunted 
down the insurgents of Kerry, { dragging them from 
the very altars of the Popish chapels to which they 
had flown for concealment and protection/ 2 A com- 
pany of soldiers, attacked by a gang of Whiteboys, in 
Clare, fired into them, and four were killed. Others 
were betrayed and taken, and were sent in shiploads 

1 Sir Richard Musgrave, noto- 2 4 The Duke of Rutland to Lord 
rious afterwards as the historian of Sydney, September 2G ; 178G. Se- 
the Rebellion of 1798. cret.' 



book to Botany Bay. Luttrell, whose mission threatened 
- ^ IL -^ at first to be a hopeless failure, returned to Dublin in 
October. October, leaving the country quieted, the clergy 
breathing freely again in their glebe houses, and the 
Whiteboys prepared to wait L till their complaints 
could be considered by Parliament.' 1 

A respite had been gained, but a respite only. Their 
arms were still in their hands, and commotions would 
infallibly break out again if Parliament failed to find 
a remedy. The Viceroy declared himself c unable to 
offer an opinion what was fittest to be done in so de- 
licate and complicated a question.' He rather hinted 
than advised the commutation system, to which Fitz- 
gibbon had pointed as the fittest solution. 2 

1 1 Duke of Rutland to Lord Sydney, October 29, 1786. Secret/ 

2 Ibid. 




The disorders were suspended in Munster only to chap. 

break out in other places. The revolution of '82 and 

the establishment of political liberty had been the siff- , 1 " s ' ' 

i. J O January. 

nal for the bursting loose of Irish ideas. An armed 
rising inGalway in January was with difficulty sup- 
pressed by Colonel St. George, who seized the ring- 
leader at the head of his gang. The Viceroy found 
that ' Parliament only could put an absolute period to 
these disgraceful commotions/ 1 and relinquishing re- 
luctantly the system of biennial sessions which had 
allowed hitherto a twelvemonth's respite from agita- 
tion, he found himself obliged to recall the Legislature 
to its functions at the opening of the new year. It 
was indispensable to show the Irish people that free- 
dom (whatever its theoretic value to them) did not 
mean anarchy and midnight assassination, and the 
starvation of the clergy by the refusal of their lawful 
salaries. Eemedial measures might be eventually 
necessary; but the leading gentry, alive to the disgrace 
of the country, agreed that effective steps must be 
first adopted to restore respect for the law. They 
promised privately to support the duke in carrying a 
Conspiracy Act, and in providing more effective 
officers to maintain peace than the supine and 
cowardly magistracy. 2 

On the last of January Fitzgibbon laid before the 

1 'The Duke of Rutland to 2 < The Duke of Rutland to Lord 
Lord Svdnev, Xovemher 10, 178G.' Sydney, January 2o, 1787.' 



book House of Commons the outlines of the measure which 
— - he intended to propose. Combinations to commit 

JamfaTy capital crimes had been hitherto only misdemeanours 
until purpose became act. The Attorney- General's Bill 
made conspiracy into felony. It contained clauses 
enabling the Executive to disregard Constitutional 
forms in dealing with what was virtually rebellion. 
The Whiteboy Association had commenced in a Catho- 
]ic chapel. Through the chapels it was propagated. 
The chapel altars had been the sanctuary of the criminal 
when the soldiers were on his track. It was proposed to 
empower the magistrates at their discretion to destroy 
any Catholic 'meeting-house/ in which tumultuous 
assemblies had been held or unlawful oaths had 
been administered, and to forbid the re-erection of 
any chapel so demolished within three years. 

Fitzgibbon was Irish born — Irish of the very Irish. 
He knew the people. He knew the working of the 
popular creed. He knew that if the priests were not 
to command, they must be broken in and forced to 
obey. Though he was stern where sternness was im- 
perative, no one was more conscious than he of the 
wrongs under which the country suffered. No one 
ever described those wrongs more effectively, or laid 
the lash more heavily on the right shoulders. In the 
speech with which he introduced the Bill, he said : — 
c I am well acquainted with the Province of Mun- 
ster, and I know that it is impossible for human 
wretchedness to exceed that of the miserable tenantrv 
of that Province. I know that the unhappy tenantry 
are ground to powder by relentless landlords. I 
know that far from being able to give the clergy 
their just dues, they have not food and raiment for 
themselves ; the landlord grasps the whole. Sorry I 



am to add that, not satisfied with their present ex- chap. 
tortion, some landlords have been so base as to insti- IL 
gate the insurgents to rob the clergy of their tithes, T 17 ' s? - 

P . n January. 

not m order to alleviate the distresses of the tenantry, 
but that they might add the clergy's share to the 
cruel rackrents already paid. Sir, I fear it will 
require the utmost ability of Parliament to come to 
the root of these evils. The poor people of Munster 
live in a more abject state of poverty than human 
nature can be supposed able to bear. Their miseries 
are intolerable ; but they do not originate with the 
clergy, nor can the Legislature stand by and see them 
take the redress into their own hands. Nothing can 
be done for their benefit while the country remains 
in a state of anarchy.' 1 

The introduction of Fitzgibbon's Bill was the 
occasion of one of the most instructive debates which 
was ever heard in the Irish House of Commons. To 
the patriots, who believed that more liberty was the 
remedy which Ireland required, it was naturally 
odious. Henry Flood was gone. He had forsaken 
his ungrateful country, and transferred his eloquence 
to a sphere where it was less appreciated than even 
at home. He was now a Member of the British Par- 
liament. But his place was adequately filled, so far 
as opposition was needed to every measure that could 
strengthen authority. Mr. Burgh called the Bill a 
libel on the House and country and on human nature, 
infamous in principle and motive, and disgraceful to 
the community where it could find a moment's tole- 
ration. Grattan outdid himself in passion and bril- 
liancy of invective. 4 Ireland needed coercion, it was 

1 Irish Debates, January 31, 1787. 





book true, but it needed the coercion of tenderness, the 
coercion of justice, the coercion which should appeal 
to the generous, warm, and noble temperament of the 
Irish people. The Attorney -General's Bill breathed 
of nothing but blood. It was a leaf from the code of 
Draco. The clause for the destruction of the Catholic 
chapels was a gross expression of insolent and gra- 
tuitous intolerance.' 

The chapel provision evidently found no favour. 
Country gentlemen were not prepared for a war of 
religion, and if embodied in the Act it would be as 
inoperative as the repealed penal laws. Fitzgibbon 
yielded to the general sentiment. ' If the Popish 
meeting-houses,' he said, 4 were mere places of combi- 
nation to rob the Protestant clergy, they ought to be 
prostrated.' But 4 as he desired his Bill to be passed 
unanimously, he consented to withdraw that feature.' 

On the rest of the Bill the discussion went on 
fiercely as before. Some members wished to confine 
it to Cork, Limerick, and Tipperary. But it was not a 
measure intended only to affect the ignorant peasantry 
of the South. It was directed against the universal 
lawlessness of all ranks and creeds — against the 
Ulster Protestant peer as well as starving Catholic 

Lashing out indiscriminately, Fitzgibbon called 
attention to a recent characteristic proceeding of the 
same nobleman who had sent so many Protestant 
recruits to Washington's army. 1 4 The North,' he 
said, 4 has not been free from disorder. An out- 
rageous attack has lately been made on the pro- 
perty of Baron Yelverton. Four hundred rufiians, 

1 Lord Donegal. 


headed by an engineer, who professed publicly that chap. 

he was employed by a certain absentee peer, who . - 

perhaps has injured this country more than any jJJ^L 
other man ever did, at midnight, near Belfast, made 
an irruption into the works which Baron Yelverton 
had erected to repel the tide, and where he had 
erected several houses and stores at a great expense. 
They destroyed the barriers against the sea, and did 
damage which a large sum will not repair. For four 
hours they worked, and then, lest their ardour should 
be damped, their commander, the engineer, led them 
into the town of Belfast, where having dosed them 
with whiskey, he led them to the charge ap;ain. The 
magistrates saw this, but did not disperse the mob ; 
and now that the injured man sues for redress, the 
offender avails himself of the situation, skulks be- 
hind privilege, and refuses to plead.' 

The discussion on the Insurrection Act spread into 
collateral subjects, and the whole situation of Ireland, 
in its social relations, came up night after night for 

Mr. Browne, a native of America, 1 remarked on the 
nature of Irish tenures. i Elsewhere,' he said, 
6 landed title was purchase, in Ireland it was forfei- 
ture.' ' The old proprietor kept alive the memory 
of his claim. Property in Ireland resembled the 
thin soil of volcanic countries spread lightly over 
subterranean fires.' 2 Religion was thus vitally con- 
nected with the land question; and in Dr. Gurry's 
history, which had just been published, the Protestanl 

1 Member for the University. always known. They regularly 

2 Arthur Young- had just written: transmit, by testamentary deed, the 
1 It is a fact that in most parts of memorial of their right to those 
Ireland the descendants of the old estates which once belonged to their 
owners, the heirs of an estate, are families.' 



book gentry were represented as invaders, usurpers, viola- 
, V T IL - tors of treaties and public faith, the eldest born of 
1787. p er fi(jy and ingratitude. It was no wonder that with 

January. I J o 

such impressions the Irish abhorred both landlord 
and parson.' 1 

Grattan brought up the miseries of the tithe payers 
in two glittering speeches. He charged the clergy 
with extortion, and with eloquent platitudes contrasted 
the modern well-paid incumbent with the barefooted 
Apostle. If fine speeches could have healed chronic 
wounds, Ireland would soon have taken leave of her 
sorrows. But the medium which she needed was 
truth ; and Grattan's impassioned sentences might 
possess every other title to admiration, but true they 
were not. Fitzgibbon repeated that the Munster 
peasants were ' in a state of oppression, abject poverty, 
sloth, dirt, and misery, not to be equalled in the 
world.' The tithes might be an aggravation of their 

1 Of all the varieties of negli- 
gence with which Irish interests 
have been treated, none has been 
more mischievous than the tacit 
indifference with which Dr. Curry's 
legend has been allowed to pass 
into accepted history. Dr. Curry 
represents the rebellion of 1641 as 
having been instigated or allowed 
by the Puritans, who wanted an 
excuse to rob the Irish of their es- 
tates. He represents the massacre 
as a fiction, invented by fraud and 
supported by perjured witnesses. 
The truth being, according to him, 
that the Protestants began to mur- 
der the Catholics, and that the 
Catholics took arms in self-defence. 
Was this account a correct one ? 
If it was, the forfeiture and the Act 
of Settlement were the most atro- 
cious injuries ever inflicted on the 

weak by the strong. The resentment 
of the Irish would be as legitimate 
as it ought to be undying till the 
fullest reparation had been made. 
How vain, how mendacious, how 
absurd the story is, was shown 
long ago in the 1 Fiction Unmasked' 
of Dr. Harris. But Harris is for- 
gotten, Temple and Borlase are 
unread or denounced as liars; while 
Dr. Curry's version has possession 
of the field, and, being unquestioned, 
is accepted by the Irish Catholics 
as true. English statesmen them- 
selves half believe it, and, forgetting 
the alternative, that if the Irish 
Catholics were not guilty in 1611 
their estates ought to be restored 
to the nation from which they were 
violently taken, talk blandly of 
their regret for past oppression. 



sufferings, but the real source of those sufferings lay citap. 
in the middlemen, ' who having no inheritance, no - n " 
education, no profession, ground the people to powder.' 1787-8 
If tithes were abolished, as Grattan desired, the people 
would be no better off ' while those harpies were 
allowed to prey on them/ The landlords, who ought 
to have protected them, handed them over to middle- 
men, the middlemen sublet to annual tenants at a rack- 
rent ; and if the provision for the clergy was taken 
away, the effect would only be that they would exact 
another pound an acre for the potato grounds. Mr. 
Browne vindicated the clergy from Grattan's personal 
charges. If they were guilty of extortion, they had 
no benefit of clergy to screen them. The courts 
were open and they could be prosecuted ; the absence 
of attempt at legal remedy, and the recourse to vio- 
lence, proved their innocence more than a thousand 
allegations. 6 1 wish,' he said, with the eloquence of 
truth, 1 1 wish you had seen them as I have seen them, 
with ruined hopes and broken hearts, despondently 
sitting amidst the blasted comforts of declining life. 
Is your pity confined to the peasant ? Suspected pity 
whose handmaid is interest ! They embraced a pro- 
fession on the public faith plighted by you— plighted 
by the Constitution. You enticed them to purchase 
education, and with it keener sensibility. Is it safe 
to sport with property ? Is it policy to teach the mob 
looic? You say the clergy do not reside to do their 
duty. It is not generally true. But do you do your 
duty? Have you no duty to your country? to your 
friends? to yourselves? Do you do your duty? You 
say the clergy have too much. Did you ever hear 
of Agrarian laws ? Do you think it easy to persuade 




the famished beggars that it is right for one man to 

— - — ' have ten thousand a year and another nothing ? ' 

Fitzgibbon finally wound up the subject in words 
which, few as they were, contained the whole secret 
of Ireland's wretchedness. 

'The right hon. gentleman' (Mr. Grattan) 'has 
said we do not know the people of the South. I ap- 
prehend rather the right hon. gentleman does not 
know them. I have lived among them almost my 
whole life ; he but a few weeks. I am very closely 
and have been very closely attached to them. I will 
again state what I mentioned before. It is the duty 
of the landlord to protect his tenants. If landlords 
would take the trouble to know their tenants, and not 
leave them in the hands of rapacious agents and mid- 
dlemen, we should hear no more of discontents. The 
great source of all these miseries arises from the ne- 
glect of those whose duty and interest it is to protect 

The perversity of history has stamped Fitzgibbon 
as the reviler of his country, and the enemy of the 
race from which he sprung. The Irish peasant never 
had a truer friend, nor Ireland a nobler patriot. 

In debates on these questions, and in the practical 
legislation arising out of them, the entire session was 
busily consumed. Alarmed by the wild spirit which 
was abroad, the House of Commons abstained from 
obstructing the Government or making frequent de- 
monstrations in favour of Irish ideas. They listened 
to Grattan's rhetoric, but they allowed Fitzgibbon to 
guide them. Grattan himself would perhaps have 
been less violent had he not been aware thai the 
temper of the majority would be proof for the present 
against mere declamation. Three Bills were passed 



of a character which showed that in ordinary circum- chap. 

stances the Parliament was fully equal to its respon- > 

Abilities. The Insurrection Bill, or Tumultuous 1787-8 
Assemblies Bill, as it finally became law, though it 
lacked the clause for the destruction of the chapels, 
was a formidable measure. It embodied in the first 
place the provisions of the Riot Act, hitherto un- 
known in Ireland. The magistrates had power to 
order every meeting of more than twelve persons to 
disperse. Persons so ordered, who disobeyed, were 
liable to be shot. Attacks on clergymen, or on 
churches of the Establishment, were made felony. 
Conspiracies, terrorism, administering unlawful oaths, 
seizure of arms, interfering to silence witnesses, all 
these were made felony, with death for a punish- 
ment. For combination to deprive clergy of their 
tithes the penalties were fine, imprisonment, and the 
whip. 1 

No plan could as yet be formed for the commuta- 
tion of tithes. The clergy, who for a year had re- 
ceived either nothing or so much only as the White- 
boy Committee was pleased to sanction, were not to 
be allowed to starve. A second Act was passed giv- 
ing them power to recover their dues by civil bill at 
the assizes, and an extremely significant provision 
was inserted, that 4 on the hearing of any civil bill 
under this Act no jury should be empannelled nor 
should any appeal be received.' 2 

Laws were still nothing without force to execute 
them. A third measure gave power to the Viceroy 
for three years (should he see occasion) to extend to 
the whole country, or part of it, the provisions of the 

1 Irish Statutes, 1787, cap. 15. 

i i 2 

2 Ibid. cap. 36 




book Dublin Police Bill, to appoint a Protestant constabu- 
lary in every barony in the kingdom, superseding the 
corrupt or incapable local officers, and a body of sti- 
pendiary magistrates to assist or take the place of the 
justices of the peace. 1 Had this last measure been 
carried fully out, it would have provided 3,000 police- 
men, 520 chief constables, and a trained and compe- 
tent magistracy to direct them. Unfortunately, it 
was permissive only, intended only as a force in 
reserve, and in its permissive form was too weak to 
resist the storm of vituperation to which it was ex- 
posed. It was called a conspiracy against liberty, 
a contrivance to increase the patronage of Govern- 
ment and change the Constitution. Fitzgibbon's 
powerful intellect overbore the clamour. For the 
present session, and the session which followed it, the 
Irish representatives had the courage to emancipate 
themselves from the eloquent agitators, whose panacea 
for misery was the cant of political independence. 
For two years of their existence the Irish Parliament 
addressed themselves in earnest to the active sores of 
the Commonwealth, and the country gentlemen en- 
dured to be told of their own shortcomings, in lan- 
guage which even then if taken seriously to heart 
might have changed the face of the country. Si sic 
omnia ! It was but a lucid interval, and another mad 
fit was imminent. Meanwhile the incendiary leaders 
discovered that further tumults would be dangerous. 
In the face of Grattan's resistance, an Act had been 
passed which made their occupation death, and means 
had been provided which, if they gave further provo- 
cation, might perhaps turn the threat into reality. 

1 Irish Statutes, cap. 40. 



Irish disturbance is systematic. It proceeds on a OHAP. 
principle and is governed by word of command. The ■ — i^: — 
order went out for the Whiteboys to resume their 1787# 
character of quiet citizens till the Irish legislators 
should be again inflated with their recurring deli- 
rium. The Duke of Rutland went on progress 
through Munster in the summer of 1787, where he 
was received with universal enthusiasm. Trade be- 
gan to grow. The commercial relations between 
England and Ireland resolved themselves in detail 
without further convulsions ; and the Volunteers, the 
fountain of so much poisonous hope, the symbol of so 
much childish infatuation, flickered out and for a 
time disappeared. 

In the October of the same year the Duke also who 
had brought the ship into harbour was attacked by 
fever in the Phoenix Park, and died after a few days' 
illness amidst universal mourning. 




book The Rutland Administration, taken as a whole, 
- V r IL ..^ had been the most successful which Ireland had 
known for a century. For the first time the anarchic 
spirit had been encountered and beaten back, and the 
partial establishment of a police in the teeth of Grat- 
tan's opposition had given his Constitution a chance 
of surviving the extravagances of its author. Success, 
unfortunately, had been bought at the usual price, 
and the measures essential to the very life of the 
country had added 20,000/. a year to the wonderful 
Pension List. Corruption in Parliament implied cor- 
ruption everywhere. When Peers sold their influ- 
ence and members of the Lower House their votes, 
subordinate officials were not likely to be more scru- 
pulous than their superiors. The customs, the excise, 
the ordnance, the treasury, were still plundered with 
but faint disguise. The public stores were preyed 
upon in the open day; supplies were charged for goods 
which had never been received. The smugglers 
landed their cargoes while the revenue officers were 
conveniently absent. Government clerks in Dublin, 
with salaries of a hundred a year, had their town and 
country houses, and their shining establishments of 
servants. Beautiful conditions, for which the one ex- 
cuse was that Government could in no other way be 
carried on. Very evidently to an unprejudiced looker- 
on Fitzgibbon's measures were no more than seda- 
tives. The quiet was but as Mr. Browne described it, 
a thin coat of ashes spread over subterranean fires. 



The Duke of Rutland's successor was the Marquis CB w. 

of Buckingham, who as Lord Temple already had ex- > ij: 

perience of Ireland, and had been universally popular 1787, 
there. Temple, during his brief administration, had 
thrown himself into the spirit of '82. He had been 
recalled as more inclined to yield to Irish sentiment 
than had been considered safe at a period of excite- 
ment. Disorder having disappeared with the Tumul- 
tuous Assemblies Bill, and the dissolution of the 
Volunteers, it was thought a gracious act to restore a 
Viceroy whose removal had been so much regretted. 
Lord Buckingham was received with enthusiasm. 
The horses were taken from his carriage when he 
landed, and he was drawn through the streets by the 
people amidst universal acclamation. They had mis- 
taken his character, and his favour was as brief as the 
loss of it was honourable. The Duke of Rutland, 
while peremptory in action, had been gracious and 
generous. His expenditure had been lavish. The 
hospitalities of the Castle had been magnificent. He 
had been personally brilliant and accomplished, and 
while bent chiefly on suppressing Whiteboys and 
maintaining the public peace he had not troubled 
himself to look too curiously into the methods by 
which public officials maintained their fine appear- 
ance in Dublin. The liberality of Lord Buckingham 
was confined to his politics. He cut down extravagance 
at the Castle, and he was considered mean. He was 
reserved and distant in manner, while Rutland had 
been accessible to everyone. He had an Englishman's 
contempt for meanness, and received the sycophants 
who pressed about him to ask for favours with cold 
distaste. Worse than all, he instituted an immediate 
enquiry into the departmental frauds. The clerks 



book were called on suddenly to surrender their books and 
_ V * L , keys and produce the outstanding balances. The 
1787. reS ult was a tragi-comedy. It was as if the police 
had come unexpected upon a gang of forgers. Some 
fled out of the country, some cut their throats, some 
were dismissed with ignominy. Lord Townshend, 
who had found the same practices on foot, had endea- 
voured to make them impossible by altering the con- 
stitution of the Board of Revenue, increasing the 
number of commissioners, and introducing English- 
men among them. The patriotic reformers had re- 
sented the enclosure of their favourite domain. They 
had never wearied of denouncing .the change. They 
had succeeded before '82 in replacing the old system. 
Lord Buckingham, at the outset of his Administration, 
found himself obliged to revert to Townshend's 
principles, and at once made determined enemies of 
every patriot and every friend of corruption. 

He was unfortunate every way, for the lawlessness 
suppressed in the South was now breaking out in 
another form in Ulster. The reader will remember 
the Antrim evictions, where so many thousand Pro- 
testant families were expelled from their farms in 
favour of Catholics who outbid them in the market. 
The ill-feeling against the intruders, which had ap- 
peared first in the Hearts of Steel, had continued 
smouldering under the surface. The Presbyterian 
farmers resented the presence of the new comers 
in a country which, before their appearance, had been 
almost exclusively Protestant. Resentment had been 
embittered by the declaration of the Dungannon Vo- 
lunteers in favour of Catholic emancipation. The 
Volunteers represented the Americanised liberal- 
ism of the manufacturing towns. The Calvinistic 



inhabitants of the country districts retained the tradi- chap. 

tional abhorrence of Popery, and gloried in the recol- « ^ 

lection of the Defence of Deny. Quarrels had thus 1787 ' 
arisen and local fights. The Catholics, in spite of 
the law, were seen to possess arms, gathered from 
the stores of the disbanded Volunteer corps ; and 
when it became known in Ulster that the Catholic 
Whiteboys had disarmed every Protestant in the 
South, and were robbing and ill-treating the Protes- 
tant clergy, a Protestant Association formed itself in 
Antrim under the name of Peep-of-day Boys, to 
search the Catholic houses in turn, and take away 
their weapons in retaliation. The Catholics, who were 
unable to recognise that if they ill-treated others 
they might perhaps be ill-treated themselves, made the 
air ring with their complaints. The popular party 
in Parliament, who had acquiesced patiently when 
the Whiteboys were disarming the Protestants, were 
indignant when Protestants deprived Catholics of 
pikes and muskets which they were not entitled to 
keep. The Northern Catholics, backed by Dublin 
patriotism, organised themselves into an antagonistic 
association of 4 Defenders ; ' and Ulster on Temple's 
arrival was drifting rapidly into a war of religion. 

In the winter there were again symptoms that the 
mischief in the South was not extinguished. The 
permissive County Police Bill remained an unfulfilled 
threat; and though the outrages were less flagrant, 
the help of Parliament had to be called in a second 
time, to enable the clergy to recover their arrears of 

Lord Buckingham required all his vigour and all 
his intelligence to encounter the work which lay 
before him. He began well in attacking official 



book swindling. He was less careful to avoid giving the 
- V t IL ..^ swindlers an opportunity of retaliating on himself. 
1787 * Soon after his arrival the most valuable sinecure in 
Ireland 1 falling vacant, he gave it to his brother, Mr. 
Grenville. The existence of such offices in so poor a 
country was inexcusable. The bestowal of them on 
English favourites and politicians was among the 
most mischievous of Irish abuses, and for a reform- 
ing Viceroy to set so gross a precedent was an im- 
prudence amounting to a crime. 

Thus it was that before Lord Buckingham had 
been six months at the Castle he was as much de- 
tested as he had been adored at his coming. The 
disasters in the country were charged to his inca- 
pacity. The misuse of his patronage had alienated 
the honest and gave the dishonest an occasion for 
misrepresenting him when he acted rightly ; and 
by the summer of 1788 the desire was universal 
that he would take himself away. 2 At this moment 
there now rose, without warning, a fresh political 

1 The office of 'Chief Remeni- an abundant stock of self-sufficiency 
brancer,' whatever that might have — who, like the Persian monarch, 
been, worth in itself 4,000/. a year, would hide his royalty to increase 
with extensive patronage attached. the veneration of the world. A man 

2 No better illustration can be whose disdainful meanness led him 
given, either of Lord Bucking- to be haughty to the humble, and 
ham's unpopularity or of the cha- humble to the stout ; who was so 
racter of the Irish Parliament, than haughty and arrogant, so hateful 
a description which Sir John Bia- to the people of the other country, 
quiere was allowed to give, unre- as not to be able to procure the 
buked, in the House of Commons, meanest office in the Cabinet, and 
of the representative of his sove- who, to be got rid of, was sent 
reign: — away from being the pest of his 

' An imperious, reserved, super- own country to be the scourge of 
cilious man, with mean talents, but this.' — Irish Debates, 1789. 




The summer of 1788 was spent by Mr. Grattan in chap. 
England. He was introduced to the Prince of Wales, * — — 
to the mutual satisfaction of both. The heir of the 
throne, though unbeloved at home, was esteemed 
greatly in the Sister Island. ' The Irish,' says Mr. 
Plowden, ' admired prowess, generosity, and magna- 
nimity, as they despised and detested everything 
mean, sordid, and suspicious.' Therefore, by a sin- 
gular process of reasoning, they bestowed their 
affections on a person whose prowess had been shown 
in fields of dishonour, whose generosity was profli- 
gate extravagance, whose magnanimity was indif- 
ference to obligations. Mr. Grattan had been re- 
ceived also at the Whig clubs with the distinction 
due to the Emancipator of Ireland. He had listened 
to the complaints of the Whig statesmen against Pitt 
and the King ; and the Whig statesmen, forgetting 
their own experience in 1782, had been ready in 
turn to take up Irish discontent into the scope of 
their political campaign. From Paris came the in- 
spiriting news of fast-approaching revolution, while 
the singular illness which was growing upon George 
the Third was exciting hopes in the Whig heart to 
which loyalty forbade them to give utterance. The 
visit was over. Mr. Grattan was returning, at the 
beginning of October, to Ireland, and had reached 
Chester on his way, when he was overtaken by a 
message which recalled him instantly to London. 
The King's disorder was taking the form of settled 



book delirium, and a Regency seemed all but inevitable. 
< — I^L^ The Crown only had kept Mr. Pitt in office. The 
November, assumption of the royal authority by the Prince of 
• Wales would imply a change of ministry and mea- 
sures. Now at last there was a hope of shaking off 
Fitzgibbon and the corrupt majority which supported 
him, and of securing for Ireland those broad reforms 
which would make her independence at last into a 

The English Parliament stood prorogued till the 
20th of November. When the day arrived there was 
no longer a question of the King's condition. The 
Houses adjourned for a fortnight. The physicians 
were examined in the interval before the Privy 
Council, and declared that although likely to recover, 
his majesty was for the present incapable of discharg- 
ing his functions. On the 4th of December Parlia- 
ment met as a convention to consider the steps which 
were to be taken. A committee of both Houses was 
first appointed to re-examine the physicians. On the 
presentation of the report all parties agreed that 
there must be a Regency, and that the Prince of 
Wales was the person on whom the office must de- 
volve. All parties were not agreed, however, on the 
conditions on which the Prince was to enter upon it. 
Fox asserted that he would succeed of natural right 
to all powers which his father exercised. Pitt in- 
sisted that he would receive his powers at the hands 
of Parliament, under such limitations and restrictions 
as Parliament might be pleased to impose. Meeting 
at once Fox's claim of right, he proposed and carried 
a resolution that it was the duty of the Lords and 
Commons to provide a substitute pending the inca- 
pacity of the Sovereign. The Prince of Wales having 




declined a personal interview, Pitt wrote formally to 
inform him of the Parliamentary resolutions, and to 
state that he was prepared to propose the nomination D ^mber 
of his Royal Highness to the regency on certain terms 
which he specified. 

The Regent, though he was to have power to 
choose his own advisers — power, therefore, to dismiss 
Pitt from his councils — was to be prevented from 
squandering the royal property, to be prohibited 
from granting offices for life, and from creating new 
peers. He was to be thus disabled from rewarding 
and promoting his social and political favourites, 
while the care of the King's person and the manage- 
ment of the household were to be wholly reserved to 
the Queen. 

The Prince's reply was said to have been written 
by Burke. It was in a tone of indignant resent- 
ment, reproaching Pitt with creating divisions in the 
royal family, and taunting him with trying the expe- 
riment whether royalty was a necessary feature in 
the executive government. He did not refuse to 
accept conditions, but he reserved his final assent till 
they were presented to him by Parliament. Pitt in- 
troduced his Regency Bill, but the proceeding with 
it was dilatory. The physicians were again examined 
in January. Though the King was then no better, 
they reported that he was certainly not worse, and the 
forms of Parliament continued to prolong the crisis. 

So matters went in England. In the Sister Island 
they were assuming a complexion singularly different. 
Irish animosity has misrepresented with its usual 
perverseness the conduct of Lord Buckingham. His 
letters fortunately survive to show that he was excep- 
tionally studious of Ireland's supposed rights, and 




B °° K careful of her silliest susceptibilities. The absurd 
haste with which the Constitution of ? 82 had been 
hurried through had left the contingency which had 
occurred, like many others, unprovided for. By the 
Constitution the Sovereign of England was to be 
Sovereign of Ireland. Whether if England changed 
her Sovereign Ireland was bound to follow the ex- 
ample was a question which, in spite of the expe- 
rience of 1689, was supposed to be left open. Ireland 
at all events conceived she had a right to elect her 
own Eegent on her own terms. She was anxious 
to do it quickly, that she might show her indepen- 
dence, by anticipating England. She was anxious 
also to show her spirit and gain the Prince's favour, 
by dispensing with the ignoble stipulations by which 
Pitt sought to restrict his generosity. 

Lord Buckingham has been accused of having ob- 
structed the meeting of the Irish Parliament to the 
latest moment ; he, in fact, regretted that he had no 
constitutional power to call it together before the 
time to which it was prorogued. 1 Immediately on 
hearing of the King's condition he warned the Cabi- 
net of ' the extreme jealousy which might be looked 
for in the most loyal Irish hearts if England should 
appear to encroach on their Constitution by dictating 
their action.' But so little was he prepared for the 
extravagant course on which they were about to en- 
ter, that his chief anxiety was to leave them free, 
and he undertook for them that ' any measures taken 
in England would be adopted without difficulty.' 
Had the Eegency Bill been passed in England with 
the rapidity which was at first expected, the Irish 

1 1 The Marquis of Buckingham to Lord Sydney, November 23, 
1789. Most secret.' 



patriots would have lost an opportunity of displaying chap. 

their independence, but the blame, whatever its first I i » 

amount, would not have rested on the Viceroy. Lord 1<v ! ^ 
Buckingham at any rate they had determined to 
drive from the country. Grattan remained in Lon- 
don till January, when the establishment of the 
Regency was thought to be a question of days. The 
Whig leader, anticipating immediate accession to 
office, had promised him that Lord Buckingham should 
be recalled, that Lord Spencer should take his place ; 
that he should have his Pension Bill, his Place Bill, 
and his Reform Bill, and be no longer obstructed by 
the political janissaries of the Castle. He in turn had 
undertaken for Ireland that she would elect the Prince 
of Wales Regent, with no idle restrictions, and that 
she would accept Fox's view of natural right. For 
himself, perhaps, he meant further to loosen another 
rivet in the chain of Ireland's dependency. With these 
promises and these views Grattan hastened back to 
Ireland, to be in time for the opening of Parliament 
on the 5th of February. 

The Speech from the Throne announced the King's 
illness, and promised attested copies of the examina- 
tion of the physicians before the Committee of the 
British Parliament to explain the nature of it. On 
the lightest word the explosive material was ready to 
kindle. George Ponsonby sprung instantly to his 
feet, and enquired by whom these copies were signed. 
Yells from the gallery drowned the answer. Dennis 
Brown and Mr. Griffiths throwing into words the 
meaning of the uproar, exclaimed that it was deroga- 
tory to their dignity, it undermined the foundations 
of their independence, to receive reports from the 



book Parliament of another country on a subject relating 

• — to the rights of the King of Ireland. 

Eelritfry patriot spirit was all that could be wished, but 

it was starting off upon a wrong scent. If the report 
was refused the royal physicians must be sent for to 
attend in person, and Grattan's object was to take 
time by the forelock and hurry on the action of the 
Irish Parliament before the English Act should be 
passed, to become their precedent. The huntsman 
called back the too eager hounds. 

' The evidence,' he said, 4 was amply sufficient/ 
'Such objections would result only in making the 
measures of another assembly the rule of their con- 
duct.' ' They needed no model from Great Britain.' 
He invited the Irish Legislature to proceed in- 
stantly in the nomination of their Regent. The 
meaning of this was of course transparent. Fitz- 
gibbon protested against haste, ' which might dis- 
solve the single tie which now connected Ireland with 
Great Britain.' Mr. Fitzherbert, the Secretary, in- 
sisted on the propriety of Ireland following England's 
example in so serious a matter. Every packet might 
bring news of the passing of the Regency Bill, and 
he begged for a few days' delay. After an irregular 
debate, which degenerated into personal abuse of the 
Viceroy, George Ponsonby moved that the House 
resolve itself into a committee for instant action. The 
grounds on which the Government desired delay were 
with the patriots grounds for precipitation. The Par- 
liament was again wild with the vanity of nation- 
ality ; and though Fitzgibbon warned the House 
that whoever maintained that the proceedings on the 
Regency might differ in the two countries was a 
very bold man, Ponsonby's motion was carried. In 



the expectation of Lord Spencer's arrival, the Go- chap. 
vernment phalanx had already dissolved, and the flock wujl— 
of members whose votes were at the disposition of F ^'*.^, 
the Viceroy had already transferred them by antici- 
pation to Lord Buckingham's successor. On the 11th 
the committee was formed, with Sir Lucius O'Brien 
in the chair, and the Clerk of the House, not without 
a repetition of disorder in the galleries, read the do- 
cuments on the King's health. Then Grattan rose. 

4 The House had been informed by the Adminis- 
tration,' he said, i that the Prince of Wales was to 
be Regent, with limitations.' 4 Limitation was an 
attack on the King of Ireland,' and he would have 
none of it. ' Ireland was of opinion that the Prince 
should be invested with the plenitude of Royal power ;' 
L he must therefore take the business out of the hands 
of the Castle.' He proposed that the Irish Parlia- 
ment should vote an immediate address to the Prince, 
inviting him to an unrestricted Regency. 

It was but too plain that Grattan had the sense of 
the House with him. After two years of comparative 
sanity, the madness which had rejected the commer- 
cial propositions had returned. The Irish gentry 
were again inflamed with national vanity, and a fresh 
convulsion was at hand. Close in front, too, lay 
to appearance a change of Ministry; an enthusiastic 
Lord- Lieutenant ready to make himself Grattan's tool; 
and the control of the State in the hands of a party 
who believed that the spirit which ravished Protes- 
tant girls, nailed the ears and cheeks of clergy to 
gateposts, houghed soldiers, and carded tithe-proc- 
tors, was to be cured by additional liberty. Having 
opposed the Police Act in vain in all its stages, Grat- 
tan's now most ardent hope was to repeal it, to arm 

VOL. II. Iv K 



book the rabble with votes, and lay the country at their 
« — * mercy, without a force to maintain the elements of 
February or( ^ er - And out °f these constituents he dreamt that 
he could create a nation. 

The experiment, it was but too likely, would imme- 
diately be tried, and the precipitate anxiety to anti- 
cipate England's action on the Regency was the first 
movement in the game. Already Dublin was on fire. 
The debate was interrupted at its commencement by 
a riot at the door of the House. The mob had as- 
saulted the door-keepers in trying to force an entrance. 
A constable had been almost killed. As soon as bu- 
siness was resumed, Tom Conolly, Charles Sheridan, 
and Lord Henry Fitzgerald spoke, amidst general ap- 
plause, in favour of Grattan's motion. Alone — for 
none but he dared encounter the lunacy of his coun- 
trymen in its first paroxysm — Fitzgibbon came for- 
ward to oppose it. To him the enthusiasm of Irish 
nationality was a combination of knavery and folly. 
To assume the privileges of equality with England, 
to fly hi England's face, and become a thorn in her 
side, could end only, as he well knew, in the not dis- 
tant annihilation of the phantom Constitution. Never, 
while they could help it, would any English Ministry, 
Whig or Tory, allow Ireland to be really free. Then, 
as always, Fitzgibbon determined to make these ora- 
torical senators, and the mob at their backs, under- 
stand their real position. Even by the letter of the 
Constitution itself they were not justified in what they 
were preparing to do. 

He first desired the Clerk of the House to read the 
4th of William and Mary, which ' declares the king- 
dom of Ireland to be annexed to the Imperial Crown 
of England/ and ' the Sovereign of England, therefore, 



to be by undoubted right Sovereign of Ireland also.' chap. 
He then proceeded. w ''• _ 

4 1 am perfectly convinced that what I shall say F Jj£2?' 
will have no effect on gentlemen on the other side 
of the House. Let them propose what address they 
please, it will certainly be voted ; and therefore I 
would not have risen to trouble the committee at all, 
if I was not convinced that the measures proposed 
are contrary to the laws of the realm, and criminal in 
the extreme. The crown of Ireland and the crown 
of England are inseparably united, and the Irish Par- 
liament is totally independent of the British Parlia- 
ment. The first of these positions is your security, 
the second your freedom; and any other language 
tends to the separation of the crowns or the subjec- 
tion of your Parliament. The only security of your 
liberty is the connexion with Great Britain ; and 
gentlemen who risk breaking the connexion must 
make up their minds to a union. God forbid I should 
ever see that day ; but if the day comes on which a 
separation shall be attempted, I shall not hesitate to 
embrace a union rather than a separation. 

• Under the Duke of Portland's Government the 
grievances of Ireland were stated to be the usurpation 
of the British Parliament, a perpetual Mutiny Bill, 
and the powers assumed by the Privy Council. They 
were redressed. In redressing them you passed a 
law by which you enact that all Bills which pass the 
two Houses here, which shall be certified into Eng- 
land, and which shall be returned under the Great 
Seal of England, without any addition, diminution, or 
alteration whatever, shall pass into law, and no other. 
By this you make the Great Seal of England essen- 
tially and indispensably necessary to the passing of 

EK 2 



book laws in Ireland. You can pass no Act without certi- 
VII ... . . 

. r -l~- fying it into England, and having it returned with 

February ^ ne Great Seal of that kingdom ; insomuch that were 
the King of England and Ireland to come here in 
person and to reside, he could not pass a Bill without 
it being first certified to his Regent in England, who 
must return it under the Great Seal of that kingdom 
before his majesty could even in person assent to it. 

' Let me suppose that we, in the dignity of our inde- 
pendence, appoint a Regent for Ireland, being a dif- 
ferent person from the Regent of England — a case not 
utterly impossible, if you insist on our appointing the 
Prince of Wales before it is known whether he will 
accept the Regency of England ; and suppose we 
should go further, and desire him to give the Royal 
assent to our Bills, he would say, " My good people 
of Ireland, you have by your law made the Great 
Seal of England essentially necessary to be affixed to 
each Bill before it passes in Ireland. That Seal is in 
the hands of the Chancellor of England, who is a 
very sturdy fellow. That Chancellor is an officer 
under the Regent of England. I have no authority 
over him, and so, my very good people of Ireland, you 
had better apply to the Regent of England, and re- 
quest that he will order the Chancellor to affix the 
Great Seal of England to your Bills, otherwise, my 
very good people of Ireland, I cannot pass them." 
Suppose you choose a Regent by address in the man- 
ner you suggest, and by fatality a different Regent 
be appointed for Great Britain, and your Regent 
chooses to come over here and exercise his authority 
in person, the moment a Regent is appointed in Great 
Britain he may send a commission under the Great 
Seal appointing a Lord-Lieutenant, and to that com- 



mission your Regent is bound to pay obedience. If chap. 
he refuses, lie stakes his head on the experiment. « — — • 
" There is a feature in this proceeding which, in- pjSbrauy, 
dependent of other objections to it, does in my mind 
make it so highly reprehensible, that I consider it a 
formal appeal from the Parliament of England to 
that of Ireland. We shall sow the seeds of dissension 
between the Parliaments of the two countries ; and 
though I do not desire the Parliament of this country 
implicitly to follow the Parliament of England, I 
should consider it a wise maxim for this country 
always to concur with that Parliament, unless for very 
strong reasons indeed we are obliged to differ from 
it. If it is to be a point of Irish dignity to differ from 
the Parliament of England to show our independence, 
I very much fear the sober men in this country who 
have estates to lose will soon become sick of inde- 
pendence. 1 Constituted as it is, the Government of 
the country can never go on unless we follow 
Great Britain hnplicitly in all regulations of Impe- 
rial policy, and you who profess yourselves this night 
advocates for the independence of the Irish crown 
are advocates for its separation from England. Let 
us agree with England in these three points — one 
king, one law, one religion. Let us keep these ob- 
jects steadily in view, and we act like wise men. If 
you make the Prince of Wales your Regent, and 
grant him plenitude of power, let it be done by Bill; 2 

1 Let the reader observe the turn words of his minister, Fitzgibbon, 

given to these most sensible words to make the Irish gentry sick of their 

by Mr. Henry Grattan, in the Life independence. 1 (The italics are Mr. 

of his father. * Mr. Pitt was deter- Grattan's.) — Grattan 's Life, vol. 

mined that the working of the free iii. p. 415. 

Constitution should be stopped ; 2 Because the Bill before it be- 
that the era of 1782 should exist come law must pass under the Great 
merely in name ; and, in the wicked Seal of England. 



book otherwise I see such dangers that I deprecate the mea- 
sure proposed. I call on the country gentlemen of 
February Ireland. This is not a time to think of every paltry 
disappointment sustained at the Castle of Dublin. 
If any man has been aggrieved by the Viceroy, and 
chooses to compose a philippic on the occasion, let 
him give it on the debates of a Turnpike Bill, when 
it will not be disgraceful to the man who utters it, as 
on the present occasion.' 1 

Not Shylock, when he heard Portia interpret the 
law of Venice, was more astounded than Grattan, 
when he learnt the value to Ireland of the Constitu- 
tion of '82. Was the child of his enthusiasm, for 
which his country had magnificently rewarded him, 
for which the orators of Parliament had raised him 
higher than Lord Chatham, was it after all a miserable 
farce? Was Ireland not independent, then? No; 
nor ever could be. There is no political indepen- 
dence save that which is won by the sword, and if 
the dread appeal is insisted on can be maintained by 
the sword. Independence, save to those who can 
fight for it, is an illusion and a curse. 

The debate which followed the delivery of this ex- 
traordinary speech was more like the screaming of 
macaws than the grave consultation of reasonable 
beings. If such was the meaning of the Act of '82, 
Grattan wildly asked, why had not the Attorney- 
General warned them of it ? Not for this would the 
patriot Commons part with their inalienable rights. 
The Government attempted no division. The next 
day the address was carried by acclamation and sent 
to the Lords ; while, as a fit adjunct to the scene 

1 Irish Debates, February 11, 1789. 



within, the undergraduates of Trinity, armed with chap. 

swords and pistols, were fighting the police at the w-J . 

doors. w ^ 9 - 

The Peers were scarcely less insane than the Lower 
House. The Duke of Leinster and Lord Charlemont, 
the Archbishop of Cashel and Lord Perry, were 
agreed • on the duty of availing themselves of the 
opportunity of asserting the total independence of 
Ireland.' 1 They carried with them a large majority, 
and out of seventy-one Peers forty-five voted for the 
address, and returned it approved to the Commons. February 

Though the struggle was hopeless for the moment, 
the Attorney-General repeated his objection. He 
said that he had consulted the Chancellor and the 
Judges. They were unanimously of opinion that he 
had stated correctly the character of the Constitution, 
and that anterior to the passing of the Regency Bill 
in England the address was not only improper, but 
treasonable. For the honour of the Irish nation, for 
the honour of the illustrious personage to whom it 
was to be presented, he besought the House to pause. 
He was speaking to the winds. A chorus of shout- 
ing voices p;ave him for an answer that the address 
should be carried to the Viceroy by the two Houses 
on the following day, with a request for immediate 

Thus, on the 18th, the Lords and Commons of Ire- 
land marched in state to the Castle, with the Chan- 
cellor and Speaker at their head. In the Presence 
Chamber Lord Lifford read the invitation to the 
Prince, and presented it to the Viceroy. 

The next packet might bring Lord Spencer, and 

1 'The Marquis of Buckingham to Lord Sydney, February 17, 



book it might be his last official act. Lord Buckingham 

VII • • 

. declined to purchase a recovery of his popularity at 

rebra^. tne sacrifice °f honour. 

He drew back, and refused to receive the roll. 

4 Under the impression,' he said ? 4 which I feel of 
my official duty, and of the oath which I have taken 
as Chief Governor of Ireland, I am obliged to decline 
transmitting this address into Great Britain. I can- 
not consider myself warranted to lay before the 
Prince of Wales an address purporting to invest his 
Eoyal Highness with power to take on him the go- 
vernment of this realm before he shall be enabled 
by law so to do.' 1 

Bubbling over with indignation, the senators re- 
turned to their Houses. The Duke of Leinster in one 
place, and Grattan in the other, proposed a present 
adjournment. They must act with dignity, Grattan 
said, and not allow themselves to appear to be 
swayed by temper. 

The first impression appears to have been that no 
more could be done till Lord Spencer arrived. 2 But 
to wait for Spencer would be to wait till the Prince 
of Wales was English Regent, and therefore to miss 
the point of the opportunity. Braver counsels pre- 

1 Lord Buckingham's conduct 
was fully approved in England. 
' The Cabinet/ Lord Sydney wrote, 
' entirely concur in the propriety of 
your declining to transmit the ad- 
dress. His Royal Highness cannot 
lawfully take upon him any part 
of the King's authority till he is 
enabled by Act of Parliament to do 
so ; and no Act of the Irish Parlia- 
ment for that, or any other purpose, 
can be passed, except by the Royal 
assent, given under the Great Seal. 
— Lord Sydney to the Marquis of 

Buckingham, February 21, 1789. 
Secret' S. P. 0. 

2 The Duke of Portland, writing 
on the 21st of February to Grattan, 
says : ' I learn, by letters from Ire- 
land, it is the intention of our 
friends to defer the consideration of 
all public business till after the de- 
parture or removal of the present 
Lord-Lieutenant.'— Grattan's Life, 
vol. iii. p. 373. The letters referred 
to probably left Dublin on the 
evening of the 18th. 



vailed. The House of Commons re-assembled on the c ^ R 

20th, the Yicerov expecting violent resolutions to be ' — \ — ' 

, . , r M ° 1 / 89. 

passed against nimseii. 1 February. 

Mr. Todd Jones, the hottest and most foolish of 
the patriot chiefs, announced that 4 the life of the 
country w as at stake/ 4 The Chief Governor had set 
himself at issue with the Legislature, and there was 
a doubt whether by such desperate conduct he had 
not virtually abdicated.' 4 The situation,' he said, 
4 was awful.' 4 In silent anxiety Ireland confided in 
her Parliament, and demanded an unimpeached Con- 

Mr. Grattan followed. He moved that, the Viceroy 
having refused to transmit the address to the Prince, 
a deputation should be chosen from the Lords and 
Commons to carry it over ; and this being assented 
to, he proposed next a formal resolution that, in ad- 
dressing his Poval Highness, the Parliament of Ire- 
land had exercised an undoubted right. 

On the first motion Fitzgibbon had been passive; 
on the second he again came forward to confront the 
tempest. Though he was liable, as he well knew, to 
be called out by every bellowing patriot, and to be 
made to answer for his words to twenty champions 
of liberty at the pistol's mouth, he again cautioned 
the House ; how it followed the honourable gentleman 
in his ill-advised and desperate speculation.' 

4 Let me tell the gentlemen of Ireland,' he said, 
4 that the only security by which they hold their 
property, the only security they have for the present 
Constitution in Church and State, is the connexion 
of the Irish Crown with, and its dependence upon, the 

1 ' To Lord Sydney, February 10. Most secret.' S. P. 0. 



book Crown of England. That connexion and that de- 
— \ IL - pendence have been sealed with the best blood of this 
l^ruary country. If they are now duped into idle and fan- 
tastical speculations under the pretence of asserting 
national dignity and independence, they will feel the 
effects to their sorrow. For give me leave to say, 
sir, that w T hen we speak of the people of Ireland, it 
is a melancholy truth that we do not speak of the 
great body of the people. This is a subject on which 
it is painful to me to be obliged to touch in this as- 
sembly ; but when I see the right honourable member 
driving the gentlemen of Ireland to the verge of a 
precipice, it is time to speak out. . . . Sir, the an- 
cient nobility and gentry of this kingdom have been 
hardly treated. The Act by which most of us hold 
our estates was an Act of violence — an Act subverting 
the first principles of the Common Law in England 
and Ireland. I speak of the Act of Settlement; and 
that gentlemen may know the extent to which that 
summary confiscation has gone, I will tell them that 
every acre of land which pays quit-rent to the Crown 
is held by title derived under the Act of Settlement. 
So I trust gentlemen on the opposite benches will 
deem it worthy of consideration how far it may be 
prudent to pursue the successive claims of dignified 
and unequivocal independence made for Ireland by 
the right honourable gentleman. 

4 So long as we remain satisfied with the Consti- 
tution as settled in '82, so long as we use our oppor- 
tunities to cement the union of the Crowns and cul- 
tivate the affection and confidence of the British 
nation, we shall cultivate peace, good order, and pros- 
perity in this country. 

4 If in a moment of frenzy the two Houses of 



'Parliament of this country are to sacrifice their con- CHAP, 
nexion with the Crown of England in pursuit of para- < — 
doxical phantoms, perhaps we may live to see Ireland v^^L 
once more indebted to a British army for the restora- 
tion of her civil and religious liberty. Do you sup- 
pose the British nation will submit to the claim now 
set up by the Irish Parliament? If the address of 
both Houses can invest the Prince of Wales with 
Royal power in this country, the same address could 
convey the same powers to Louis XVI., or to his 
Holiness the Pope, or to the right honourable mover 
of this resolution. 

' It is impossible the assertion of this claim will 
not again commit this country with Great Britain, 
and if by fatality we are committed, what must be 
the event ? We are committing ourselves against the 
law and against the Constitution, and in such a 
contest Ireland must fall.' 1 

Fitzgibbon's words might be remembered after- 
wards. In the present humour of men they fell like 
rain-drops in water, and swelled the volume of in- 
sanity. Ireland bravely asserted by vote ' her 
undoubted rights.' Grattan moved and carried another 
resolution, 2 that Lord Buckingham's refusal to submit 
his address was ill-advised and unconstitutional. 
The Duke of Leinster, Lord Charlemont, Tom 
Conolly, Mr. O'Neil, and William Ponsonby, were 
selected as a deputation to wait personally on the 
Prince, and they would have sailed on the evening of 
the 21st but for a severe easterly gale. 3 

1 Irish Debates, February 20, going, uncertain whether to present 
1789. the address or not, if they found 

2 By 119 votes to 78. the English Regency still undeter- 

3 So childish was the stilted mined on their arrival. The opinion 
stage play, that the deputation were of the lawyers that they were com- 


book The same wind which detained them in harbour 


1^—* brought over news which chilled the patriotic heart. 

February. The King was rapidly recovering. The Duke of 
Portland reported that the Opposition had been 
unable to prevent an adjournment of the Regency 
Bill. The Prince of Wales could not command the 
Great Seal till it was passed, and Lord Spencer's 
departure for Ireland was therefore indefinitely post- 

mitting treason had frightened declined to decide. — The Marquis 
them ; and Grattan, when they of Buckingham to Lord Sydney, 
pressed for positive directions, had February 21. Secret. 




Patriotic effervescences are often irrational. They chap. 
are only occasionally vile. The sequel of the ex- * — ^— 
plosion on the Regency forms a characteristic episode Fe ' 
in Irish Parliamentary history. The Duke of Leinster, 
Lord Shannon, Charles Sheridan, William Ponsonby, 
and many other members of both Houses who had 
been enthusiastic promoters of the address, held at 
the same time lucrative offices under the Crown. 
The contingency of the King's recovery had not 
occurred to them. They had gone on fearlessly in 
the confident hope of Lord Spencer's coming, when 
they might rather look for fresh promotion than 
risk the loss of what «they held already. If the 
Prince's father became again capable of discharging 
his functions, the Marquis of Buckingham would 
remain at the Castle, and thev saw with horror im- 
pending over them immediate retribution for the part 
which they had played. The complete recovery was 
still only a possibility, but it was necessary to be 
prepared for either alternative. Twenty Peers and 
thirty-seven Commoners were the number compro- 
mised — members of one House or the other who had 
pledged their service to the Crown for valuable con- 
sideration, and were in danger for breach of contract. 
They were aware that they could not trust one 
another, and that each if left to himself might seek to 
make his peace at the expense of his companions. 
With the Duke of Leinster and Lord Charlemont at 
their head, they set their names to a round-robin, in 



book which they bound themselves as a body to make 
' — i— " Government impossible should the Viceroy venture 
February. to punish either of them for his late vote by loss of 
office or pension. 

Their fears having been thus secured, the depu- 
tation sailed for Holyhead, while Grattan determined, 
if possible, to force Lord Buckingham to resign, and 
on the 25th of February moved a limitation of the 
supplies to two months. 

Mr. Brownlow, in seconding this motion, reminded 
the House that if the supplies were granted for 
the usual time, the Viceroy might imitate Lord 
Townshend and prorogue. The situation had so closely 
reproduced itself, that if the King's recovery became 
a fact, an attempt at a similar solution might be 
expected with certainty. 

Fitzgibbon, alluding scornfully to the round-robin 
and anticipating the consequences, said he was sorry 
to hear the spirit of Whiteboyism had penetrated 
Parliament. He had been informed of a combination 
among distinguished lords and gentlemen which, if it 
had been proved against a tithe-proctor, would have 
made the combining parties liable to be whipped at 
the cart's tail. As to what Mr. Brownlow had said of 
Lord Townshend and the prorogation, 4 he remembered 
it well. He remembered the same Parliament after- 
wards voting Lord Townshend an address of thanks, 
and the majority which passed it had cost the nation 
half a million of money.' 4 Mr. Grattan's motion,' he 
added, with cool contempt, 4 might, if carried, lead to 
a similar address, which would cost half a million more, 
and he should therefore oppose it.' 

Grattan's motion was carried, and Fitzgibbon's 
prophecy proved nearly true. The farce was almost 



over. The same 25th of February the Duke of chap, 

Leinster and his companions reached London and « 11— . 

presented their address. The Prince thanked Ireland r ' ' v 
warmly, but was obliged, he said, 4 to delay his final 
answer in consequence of the fortunate change which 
had taken place.' On the 1st of March official in- 
formation reached Dublin that the King's health was 
restored, and the necessity for a Regency at an end. 

If Lord Buckingham was to continue Viceroy, it 
was impossible for him to pass over the round-robin, 
1 The object of it,' he said himself, 4 was to compel 
him to quit the kingdom/ ' The aristocracy, who 
had been broken once under his Majesty's direction,' 
had again combined against English authority, and 
6 must be broken a second time,' but they could be 
broken only ' by measures of the utmost decision and 
severity.' 1 Grattan, too, knew that he had gone too 
far to retire. He knew that his majority would melt 
from him if the source of patronage was to remain 
unchanged. While the Viceroy was meditating when 
and how to strike, Grattan endeavoured to drag the 
House of Commons with him, while its ranks were 
still unbroken, into a series of hostile resolutions, 
one aimed specially at Buckingham himself, condemn- 
ing the grant of high offices of state to absentees ; 
another, striking at the Pension List ; a third, binding 
the House to repeal Fitzgibbon's Police Bill, which 
he hated with the instinct of a revolutionist. He had 
been prompt ; for final news from England arrived 
only in the last days of February, and the resolutions 
were introduced on the 3rd of March. But he was 
still too late. His most trusted followers were already 

1 ' To Lord Sydney, March 1, 1789.' S. P. 0. 



book meditating retreat. An article had appeared in the 
- V J L ~ * 1 Freeman's Journal,' written by a Mr. Higgins, re- 
March' fleeting on the '82 Constitution, and insisting that for 
so imperfect ' a piece of legislation, as it now proved 
to be, the great liberator had been too precipitately 
rewarded. Mr. Parsons remarked in the House, in 
the same cynical strain, on Grattan's ' bungling.' The 
House listened with toleration, if not with favour; 
Grattan could not bear it, and forgot himself. The 
honourable gentleman, he said, was not original. He 
was repeating a charge Avhich had been expressed 
better elsewhere, but whether said better or said 
worse, it was false. Mr. Higgins was a liar. The 
1 Freeman's Journal ' was a liar. The authority from 
which Mr. Parsons drew his argument was a liar, a 
pitiful public liar. He did not mean that the right 
honourable gentleman was a liar, but the paper 
from which he took his accusation was a liar, a pitiful 
public liar. % 

Parsons stepped across the floor and said a few 
words to Grattan, 4 not recorded for the honour of 
Parliament.' Shouts rose on all sides of • Custody ! ' 
The galleries were cleared, and for two hours the 
House was frantic. 1 

When order was restored, Mr. Corry, on behalf of 
the Government, moved an adjournment ; and a 
division of 115 to 106 in favour of the Castle in- 
formed the world that the crisis was over, and that 
the apostate members had returned to their duties. 

Both sides had exerted themselves to the utmost. 
Grattan, whose resolutions had been originally more 
violent, had modified them to conciliate support. ' We 

1 Plowden, vol. iii. p. 236-7. 





were convinced,' said the Viceroy, on the other hand, CHAP. 
4 that it was essential to the peace of Ireland and to 
the existence of the Government that the attempt 
should be defeated.' 1 Lord Townshend's precedent 
had been copied as Fitzgibbon foretold, and the usual 
influences had been employed with the usual succe is. 

To the declaration against an increase of the Pen- 
sion List, Lord Buckingham was not in principle 
opposed. Mr. Forbes had introduced an annual Bill 
on this subject. The Government had this year 
been neutral, the Viceroy was anxious to end a 
vexatious subject, and the Bill had been read a third 
time. It was a compromise, restricting the Civil 
Pensions to 80,000^. ; and by limiting the abuse, was 
understood to recognise them within the limit defined. 
It established the principle that no one holding a 
pension from the Crown could sit in the House of 
Commons; and the Viceroy, who really hated the 
detestable process by which the Government majority 
had been maintained, had congratulated himself on 
the prospect of being rid of it, 2 and rejoiced in the 

1 ' The Marquis of Buckingham of vacating, by pensions or other- 
to Lord Sydney, March 4, 1789.' wise, the seats of members of the 
S. P. 0. House of Commons. I need not 

2 1 The Marquis of Buckingham explain to your lordship the ma- 
to Lord Sydney, March 20. Secret.' nifest advantages of such a power 
Lord Buckingham's words indicate to be lodged in the Crown. His 
that Government had all along been majesty's service has often suffered 
in favour of this provision, and that materially from the want of it, and 
the difficulty had not been at the the Opposition has always been par- 
Castle, but in the Parliament, which ticularly jealous on this subject, 
was in love with ita own corrup- and I am inclined to believe they 
tion : — would not have passed this clause 

1 Another principle,' he said, ' is had they clearly seen the operation 

established in this Bill, entirely of it. I am not blind to the danger 

novel in the Statute Book, though of suffering so material an innova- 

often attempted by different Go- tion in the system by which the 

vernments, I mean the principle Government of this kingdom has 




book acquisition of a means of clearing the House of 
— r-— • unprincipled and troublesome members. 
March* ^ ne promotion of a measure, however, so de- 
sirable in itself, had to yield at the present moment 
to the need of punishing the subscribers of the round- 
robin. The Leinster-Ponsonby cliques could not be 
allowed to defy the Crown ; and when this delicate 
matter came to be discussed in Council, it was disco- 
vered that 4 so violent and dangerous a combination 
could only be destroyed by a considerable increase in 
the Pension List.' 4 It was unwise to close the door 
at a time when every exertion had to be made.' 1 To 
this view of the matter the Cabinet agreed. Mr. 
Forbes' s measure was thrown out by order in its last 
stage in the House of Lords, and the means of cor- 
ruption thus reserved were freely lavished, prepara- 
tory to inflicting the intended chastisement. 

Seeing how things were going, the guilty fifty-seven 
were now anxious to make terms. They first made 
advances in a body. Lord Buckingham 4 refused to 
treat with them collectively,' though professing him- 
self 4 willing to consider the representations of indi- 
viduals for themselves, if they would disclaim the 
written association.' Too well they knew his mean- 
ing; too well they foresaw the sure effect of such 
invitation ; well aware that each, if he could, would 
scramble on the other's back to save himself from 
drowning. The noble lords and gentlemen who were 
lately so valiant thought only how each could save 
his own miserable skin. Those who felt most secure of 

been so long administered, nor essentially strengthened by it.' 
would I have consented to the se- 1 i To Lord Sydney, March 20. 

cond reading, if 1 had not con- Most secret.' 
ceived the Government would be 



being able to make terms clamoured that the round- CHAP, 
robin should be burnt ; those of 4 less influence ' clung _ n / 
desperately to it as to a raft on the waves. To Fitz- ™^ 
gibbon, who had denounced them as Whiteboys who 
ought to be whipped, the penitent suppliants came 
now suing for forgiveness. They told him that the 
association was dissolved. They promised, that if he 
insisted on it, the bond should be destroyed in his 
presence. 1 Lord Shannon, Lord Clifden, Lord Loftus, 
Hely Hutchinson, 1 and many other members of both 
Houses,' begged him to assure the Viceroy 4 that they 
did not wish to oppose his majesty's Government.' 
4 They laid themselves at his majesty's feet with every 
expression of duty, and of their humble hopes, by 
their future support, to remove every unfavourable 
impression from his majesty's mind.' 

The humiliation was held to be penalty sufficient. 

4 Under these circumstances,' Lord Buckingham 
wrote on the 23rd of March, 4 1 have not hesitated in 
authorising the Attorney- General to declare that it 
was not my intention to recommend to his majesty 
the dismissal of any of those gentlemen with whom 
he had conversed, or that might accede immediately 
to the same declaration of submission. It is, how- 
ever, expressly declared that the King's Government 
is under no engagements for future favour or counte- 
nance, either in their counties or elections, to any of 
those noblemen and gentlemen; and it is equally stipu- 
lated that any engagements to those who have zea- 
lously and uniformly supported Government shall be 
maintained, though the arrangements may interfere 

1 Apparently, Fitzgibbon pre- Irish Parliament. A fac-simile of 
ferred that the round-robin should it will be found in ' Sir Jonah Bar- 
survive among the curiosities of the rington's Historical Memoirs.' 

I l 2 



book with the former engagements which had been made to 

VII ~" 

— ~ ' those members when supporting the Administration.' 1 
March! ^he g rea ^ peers and commoners who were so ready 
to sacrifice honour and principle to save their pen- 
sions and sinecures were most of them the owners of 
estates large enough to have enabled them to afford 
the luxury of a political conscience. Familiarity 
with corruption had blunted the perception of its 
shamefulness. There were still found, however, a 
few leaders who, at the last moment, refused to bend. 
The Duke of Leinster, the two Ponsonbies, and others 
who were connected with Fox and Portland, stood 
out alike against the entreaties of their companions 
and the menaces of the Castle. A lingering rem- 
nant of honour so far influenced the rest of the sub- 
scribers that they affected to hesitate to make separate 
terms. They insisted that Buckingham must grant 4 a 
general amnesty,' but they allowed him to attach as 
a condition that the bond must be regarded as dis- 
solved, and that the parties to it must promise, 
collectively and severally, to abstain from factious 
opposition to Lord Buckingham during the rest of 
his viceroyalty. The Viceroy's consent satisfied the 
consciences of the majority. Shannon, 2 Loftus, and 
Clifden authorised Fitzgibbon to say that the asso- 
ciation was now really at an end, and if Lord Buck- 
ingham would have accepted a general declaration, 
the irreconcilables would have probably been con- 
tented to leave him undisturbed. 

The victory had been too expensive, however, to 

1 i To Lord Sydney, March 23.' know not what was Mr. Grattan's 
S. P. 0. authority. The Viceroy's letters 

2 Mr. Henry Grattan places Lord speak of him throughout as the 
Shannon in the list of those who most eager of the whole party to 
stood out and lost their offices. I be restored to favour. 




be left half won. Lord Buckingham properly in- CHAP, 
sisted on receiving the promise from each of the 
subscribers who held office. The Duke of Leinster 
was Master of the Eolls. George Ponsonby had a 
high place on the Board of Revenue. William Pon- 
sonby was Postmaster-General. With the Duke and 
William Ponsonby, who had gone on the deputation 
to England, it was especially necessary to be firm. 

The engagement which they were asked to give 
was but trifling, and their decision was not arrived at 
without effort. The Duke considered for three days 
before he gave his conclusive refusal. William Pon- 
sonby pretended illness, but at last wrote an answer 
to the Secretary, which was equally explicit. 1 

Ponsonby was made the protomartyr, as Burke 
was not ashamed to call him. Never did victim of 
intrigue and vanity suffer in a cause more contemp- 
tible.' 2 The Viceroy, sorry, as he described himself, 
to dismiss a man from his majesty's service who 
stated his objections to be personal against himself, 
ordered Ponsonby's immediate removal. His friends 
attempted to make it ' a casus foederis, on which the 
subscribers were bound to re-unite.' Some positively 
refused ; others were 4 cautiously indisposed.' The 
Viceroy saw that he might proceed safely, and the 
Treasurer of the Post-office, Mr. Lodge Morris, was 

1 * Sir, — I intend to support the 2 'I am charmed with what I 

usual supplies, and his majesty's hear of the Duke of Leinster. 

Government in this country ; but I Ponsonby, it seems, is the proto- 

will not enter into any engagement martyr. I am not mistaken in the 

whatever with my Lord Bucking- opinion I formed of him — a manly, 

ham. And as some misconceptions decided character, with a clear, 

have arisen in consequence of verbal vigorous understanding.' — Burke 

communications with his Excel- to Lord Charlemont, March 29, 

lency, I take the liberty of giviug 1789. 
this answer in writing. 

* W. B. PoXSONEY.' 


book taken next in hand. He, too, replied in writing, 



and with deliberate insolence. 1 The Viceroy en- 
closed it to Lord Sydney, and the Cabinet answered 
with a dismissal. Finally, the Duke of Leinster was 
deprived of the Mastership of the Rolls, an office of 
which his possession was an absurdity, and retired 
to Carton to digest his disgust, and encourage his 
brothers in treason. 

So ended a business disgraceful to all concerned 
in it — disgraceful to the English Whigs, who had 
allowed themselves for their own purposes to trifle 
with the insanity of Ireland — disgraceful to the 
spurious enthusiasts for independence, who had taken 
the pay of Government and turned against it, ex- 
pecting a new Viceroy and a change of wind, and 
when they found themselves mistaken, broke the faith 
which they had sworn to one another 2 — most dis- 
graceful of all to the Government, which stooped 
again to gain its ends by dabbling in the filthy waters 
of Parliamentary corruption. Lord Buckingham 
might congratulate himself on 4 having been able to 
withdraw the favour of Government from unprin- 
cipled politicians who, in critical movements, proved 
always false to their engagements.' 3 But the band 
of malcontents was broken by bribery, by the gross 

1 Lodge Morris liad private land, our late beloved Chief Go- 
wrongs to complain of. The Duke vernor. With these impressions on 
of Rutland had promised him a my mind, it cannot be expected 
seat in the Privy Council, and that the Marquis should be the 
Bucking-ham had left the promise object of great personal respect 
unfulfilled. from me.'— MSS. Ireland, April 12, 

< Lord Buckingham,' he said in 1789. S. P. O. 

his letter, ' has acted contemp- 2 It is interesting to find among 

tuously and unjustifiably towards the subscribers of the round-robin 

Parliament. He has broken the the unsuccessful Lord Rawdon, of 

faith of the King's Government so- the American war, now Earl of 

lemnly pledged for services per- Moira. 

formed, and has thereby disgraced 3 * Buckingham to Lord Sydney, 

the memory of the Duke of Rut- March 30. Most secret.' 



and flagrant purchase of the so-called independent chap. 
members, and by promotion equally scandalous of per- < — -,~ 
sons whose fitter reward would have been the horse- 
whip. 13,000/. a year was bestowed in the form 
of pensions. New offices were created of which the 
salaries were large and the duties small or none. 1 
Nine lords gained a step in the peerage, Loftus earn- 
ing an earldom by his timely desertion of the sub- 
scribers ; and seven commoners were translated into 
the lower stages of those celestial regions, to rise in 
turn by new services into the higher spheres. Some 
ascended by first descending; some by genuine merit 
and proved fidelity. In this strange scandal began 
the noble house of Londonderry. Lord Lifford 
having resigned the Great Seal, Fitzgibbon, the one 
person who had borne himself throughout with, 
scornful integrity, became on the same occasion Lord 

Mr. Grattan and his friends, after so signal a de- 
feat, found their cause hopeless so long as the House 
of Commons was unreformed, and established a sepa- 
rate Assembly, through which they could make 
known their opinions. Borne on the rising tide of 
modern democracy, spirited into hope and daring by 
the storming of the Bastille, they formed themselves 
into the celebrated AVhig Club, where the dinners 
were accompanied with speeches which became the 
ornament of the patriot newspapers. Their objects 
were to resist English encroachments, to reform the 
Constitution, and maintain the rights of the people. 
The aristocratic chiefs of the party held out their 
hands to the members of the secret societies, who, 

1 A hundred and ten 1 servants 
of the Crown ' were now ia the 
House of Commons — disciplined 

into obedience by the punishment 
of the mutineers. 



book in meaner circles, had kept alive the sacred name ; 


— r—< and the Club was composed of men part of whom 
April.' were hanged or exiled for high treason ; the other 

part became Privy Councillors, Judges, or Cabinet 


4 Under this banner,' said Fitzgibbon afterwards, 
4 was ranged such a motley collection of congenial 
characters as never before were assembled for the 
reformation of a State. Mr. Napper Tandy was re- 
ceived by acclamation as a statesman too important 
and illustrious to be committed to the hazard of a 
ballot. Mr. Hamilton Rowan repaired to the same 
flag. In the fury of political resentment noblemen 
and gentlemen of the first rank in this country stooped 
to associate with the refuse of the community, whose 
principles they abhorred, and whose manners must 
have excited their disgust.' 1 

Lord Buckingham, brought into haven at last, de- 
clined further experience of Irish government, and 
returned to England. Dublin proposed to illumi- 
nate on his departure. The mob designed him a 
rougher farewell. He disappointed the kind inten- 
tions of both city and populace by embarking quietly 
and unexpectedly at Blackrock. The reins were 
passed to the Earl of Westmoreland, who landed on 
the 5th of January, Major Hobart, afterwards Earl 
of Buckinghamshire, being Secretary. 

1 Lord Clare's speech on the Union. 


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